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Annual Christmas Parade Planned For Downtown
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Santa and Mrs. Claus take time for a photo op with a family at last year’s Christmas Festival, following the annual parade, crafts faire and Christmas Tree Lighting. This year’s festivities will mark the 50th Anniversary of the event in downtown Riverbank, on Santa Fe and Third streets and at Plaza del Rio Park. News File Photo

With All Hallows Eve firmly in the rearview mirror, it must be time for thoughts of Thanksgiving and beyond.

Such is the case with the Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department, where plans have already begun for the annual Christmas Parade and Craft Faire, coming up in just a few weeks in the downtown area.

Scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year is its 50th annual celebration, set for Nov. 24, according to Recreation Supervisor Julia Pettit.

Several years ago, she noted, a Craft Faire was added to the event, which begins at noon and runs through the evening. The faire, featuring local handmade items, is usually on Third Street, in front of City Hall North.

The Parade begins at 5:30 p.m., starting down Santa Fe Street from Community Center Park. Viewers line both sides of the street.

It continues west, past City Hall before turning south at Second Street, then returns to the park, going east down Stanislaus Street. A judging stand is usually set up at the intersection of Santa Fe and Third Street, across from Plaza del Rio Park, next to City Hall South.

Immediately following the parade, awards are presented to category winners, followed by the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree at the Plaza. Santa, who usually arrives on a fire engine at the end of the parade, will be available to youngsters to hear their Christmas wishes and pose for photos.

For vendors who wish to participate in the Christmas Crafts Faire or the parade, Pettit says, applications and more information is available at the Recreation Department office, City Hall North, Suite C, until Tuesday, Nov. 13. There is an entry fee of $15, she added, with community groups and organizations encouraged to participate.

Entries should be lighted, she added.