The Community of Lebanon Association will welcome the holiday season with a tree lighting on Friday, Nov. 17, followed by the holiday parade on Saturday, Nov. 18 (with a rain date of Saturday, Nov. 25), and carriage rides on Fridays, Dec. 1 and 8.
CLA president Greg Bracale spoke with LebTown about the upcoming festivities, with a special focus on the 47th annual holiday parade that attracts about 10,000 people each year.
He started by specifying, “Our correct name now since we merged is the Lebanon Foundation Organization doing business as the Community of Lebanon Association.”
The tree lighting will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the Ninth-Cumberland lot. “We’ll have a brass band. And Mrs. Claus will come and hand some goodies out to the kids. And we’ll sing some carols,” Bracale said.
Garcia Garman & Shea PC is sponsoring the event.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, members of the Annville-Cleona, Cedar Crest, and Lebanon high school marching bands, banner and balloon carriers, and volunteers on floats will parade from Lincoln Avenue to Cumberland Street to Ninth Street.
“Of course, Santa Claus [will show] up at the end of the parade,” Bracale said. “And then, he will be dropped off in front of the farmer’s market. And the kids can go upstairs and visit with Santa for about two hours after the parade.”
The parade is anticipated to wrap up around noon.
Those wanting to watch the holiday parade can park in any city parking lot, except for the Ninth-Cumberland lot, or use city street parking.
Annual Halloween and Christmas parades predated the annual holiday parade as we know it. “When the Halloween parade got kind of shut down many years ago, they just combined the two and then made it earlier, and we now call it the holiday parade,” Bracale said.
“The parade is probably one of our more complicated events that we do,” Bracale said of the organizational process behind the event. “Pam Shirk and Emmily Longenecker co-chair the parade this year. And they’ve been working at it the last couple of months, getting everything together.”
New this year is a balloon vendor supplying “exciting helium balloons” and cold air balloons. Returning favorites include the three high school marching bands and “quite elaborate” floats.
“It’s a massive effort. We need help. We need volunteers to help carry the signs, the banners. We need about 45 people to do that,” he said. Those interested in volunteering with the holiday parade or in general can contact CLA at 717-273-7215 or email@example.com.
“We are one of the last large-large community parades in the region. So many have kind of went by the wayside. But we get tremendous support from our sponsors,” Bracale said. Edward and Jeanne Arnold are the primary sponsors again this year, he added, “and we’re happy to have them on board. Our new member, Bell & Evans, will be participating this year, so we’re excited about that.”
Others sponsoring the annual holiday parade include Bamberger’s, E&E Metal Fab, First Citizens Community Bank, Fulton Bank, Godshall’s Quality Meats, Lebanon Federal Credit Union, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Visit Lebanon Valley, WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, Woodland Contractors, and Zinn Insurance.
For more information on the carriage rides, which will be held on Dec. 1 and 8, at various departure times, visit CLA’s website. Reservations are recommended.
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