BATESVILLE — Will the upcoming Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade break last year’s record 70 entries, up from 45 the previous year? “A lot of it has to do with the weather,” admits 10-year parade chairman Ryan Tekulve.
While organizers would like to receive parade applications beforehand, “it’s definitely not too late to sign up even the day of or the night before. Come and show up. We’re anxious to keep building this year after year.”
Businesses and organizations should participate for several reasons: creating awareness, “giving back to the community and making it a fun event.” He adds, “It’s also free advertising.”
“Tropical Christmas” is the theme of the procession, slated for Saturday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m.
On the floats, Tekulve hopes to see “anything that has to do with warm weather – colorful shirts from Hawaii, leis, beach umbrellas, sunglasses. It’s kind of a fun theme this year .... something different.”
From 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., spectators can visit food and craft booths while enjoying entertainment and dining in tents at Batesville Shopping Village. The chamber sponsors all activities.
On sale at enticing booths manned by nonprofit and business workers will be hot chocolate, soup, walking tacos, hot dogs, cookies, baked goods, cheese balls, headbands, chamber gift certificates and 2013 coupon books, crafts and coloring books, according to Tucker. A few more booth spots are available. They are free to chamber members and $15 for nonmembers.
Entertainment will keep attendees merry. Mike Fritsch and his family will sing carols starting at 11:30 a.m., followed by Dance Studio students performing at 12:15 p.m. The Eureka Band will fill the air with festive tunes from 2-3 p.m.
Parade and booth application forms, preferably due to Nov. 15, are available at www.batesvillein.com and the 16 E. George St. office.
Lineup begins at 11:30 a.m. on Columbus Avenue along Batesville Intermediate School with judging at 12:30 p.m.
The parade starts moving at 1 p.m., heading south on Mulberry Street from Columbus Avenue, east on West Pearl Street, north on Main Street, east on Boehringer Street, south on Park Avenue, west on George Street and north on Mulberry back to the start. The parade route may be modified to include the new two-way East Pearl Street section within the shopping area.
Grand marshals are the chamber’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award winner Tim Dietz and Educator of the Year Eric Heppner. Three groups honored by the chamber also will be cheered: the Batesville Beautification League as Distinguished Volunteer Group, the Kiwanis Club as Distinguished Organization and the Community Issues Committee, which earned a Special Award.
Elves will carry banners in front of the three best floats, which will earn plaques and be displayed after the procession near the Village Green. The top three will receive $100, $75 and $50 in chamber gift certificates, respectively.
Families that want to view the winning floats and Santa in his carriage will need to stand on the route before the intersection of George and Walnut streets, where those entries will exit the procession to avoid getting in after-parade traffic.
During the parade, the chairman reminds, ìSafety is our No. 1 concern. Watch your kids to make sure they’re not picking up candyî too close to floats, vehicles or horses.
Organizing the procession is ìa fun time, but also a challenge. It’s nerve-wracking and chaotic at the end, but it always seems to come together.î
The best part for Tekulve is “interacting with the people,” not only as floats and groups get lined up, but also the camaraderie he feels with ìa pretty big group that puts it all together.î Those include a chamber committee (Tekulve and Tucker plus Donna Burdett, Bill Flannery, Lori Feldbauer, Liz Stenger, Joan Schornick, Bertie Schmidt, Marilyn Schnur and Tamara Lamping); street department, police and fire personnel; and a bunch of Tekulve’s family and friends.
The fun continues afterwards in the heart of Batesville. “It’s the first time Santa is in town,” points out the director. In his workshop, Mr. Claus will be greeting children and passing out small gifts as parents take photos.
Live reindeer are among other attractions. Tekulve believes, “It’s a good draw for the kids and parents alike. You donít typically get to see reindeer,î a tradition he hopes will carry on for years to come. Rides on a miniature train will be provided by Kiwanians.
In an effort to get residents to shop locally, chamber officials will sell gift certificates there the entire time and offer a drawing. Persons may pick up free numbered tickets, then at 2:45 p.m. at least $500 in gift certificates that can be used at 180 businesses will be given away. Each lucky ticket holder will get $100 worth courtesy of chamber members. The only rule: “You must be present to win.”
Tucker always looks forward to the holiday season kickoff. This time, “it’s going to be nice to highlight all the changes downtown.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 113; or firstname.lastname@example.org.