Rekindling Holiday Spirit
schools drama teacher
revives citys Christmas parade
still being sought for
Dec. 1 parade on Main St.
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(November 2012) This year the holiday season
is looking a little brighter with the return of the Madison Christmas
Parade. After being canceled in 2011, the traditional parade is back
to ring in the holiday season in grand style.
Parade Coordinator Aaron Kelsey explains that A Christmas parade
offers the city a unified and focused event to celebrate the Christmas
season. It also provides an outlet for area businesses and organizations
to give back to the community by providing a little holiday cheer.
This years parade will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday,
Dec. 1. The route will run down Main Street from Jefferson to Mill streets.
Those interested in taking part in the parade have until Nov. 9 to turn
in registration forms, which can be found on Madisons city website.
By mid-October the parade already had 23 entries, but organizers are
still interested in adding more. Additional sponsorship is also being
sought for the special float for Santa Claus. Madison Community Relations
Director Andrew Forrester reflected on the tradition of a downtown parade
saying, I think it was always a way for us to kick off the holiday
season in Madison.
He continued, saying, In a community that is so close, it is kind
of good to have another opportunity to get together.
This year, Kelsey is serving as Parade Coordinator in cooperation with
Mayor Damon Welchs office. Forrester explains that the parade
had previously been hosted by the Madison Business and Professional
Association, But for the past five years the organization of the parade
had been in limbo.
While he said that in the past someone had always stepped up to make
the parade happen, last year the city was focused on other business
and unable to give the event the needed attention, so the parade was
canceled due to a lack of participation. Kelsey believes that the late
November date selected for last years parade was also an issue
for many who were interested in taking part.
Forrester says that the reintroduction of the parade has been a priority
for Welch. Forrester explains that One of the goals that we had
from the beginning when we took office was that we were going to have
a Christmas parade.
While the parade serves an important function as a beloved holiday event
for many area residents, Kelsey said that commercially, a parade
can be a great crowd draw and advertising venture.
After last years cancellation, Kelsey approached the mayors
office about helping to organize a parade for this year. Kelsey, who
teaches visual arts and directs the theater program at Madison Consolidated
High School, is no stranger to putting together large productions as
the schools successful series of plays and musicals attest. The
teacher also has first-hand experience as a Madison parade participant
having twice had student groups take part.
Starting in January, Kelsey researched ap-proaches other towns have
taken with parades and explored the variety of professional floats and
balloons that are available. He made use of online videos to virtually
attend holiday parades across the country and sat down with local businesses
and citizens to see what was possible for Madison.
My initial thought was to revamp the parade by adding some professional
elements, such as floats, helium parade balloons and licensed characters
much like a Macys Thanksgiving parade, Kelsey
However, the costs for such elements required significant financial
support. Kelsey discovered that helium parade balloons can rent for
$1,000 to $5,000 and recognizable licensed characters cost between $200
and $1,000 to rent. Happily, he reports, We did end up getting
enough interest and sponsorships to offer a few professional elements.
Kelsey continued, saying, I greatly appreciate the businesses
and organizations who take the task to produce their own float. It is
a lot of work. But it is these entries that give the parade its
heart. The floats and marching bands are the backbone to a good parade.
Forrester explains that the organizers have been working to make certain
that the parade offers a variety of elements in order to give the parade
a good rhythm and balance. He notes that while everyone loves marching
bands or fire trucks, a parade made up of only one element would not
give the look and feel that residents expect.
I am trying to create a good production that is entertaining and
an exciting celebration of the season, Kelsey said. There
will be dancers, Garfield, Curious George, several themed floats and
at least three marching bands.
Sponsors and participants so far include River Valley Financial Bank,
Centerstone, Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp., Kings Daughters
Hospital & Health Service, Bridges for Animals, Girls Incorporated,
Southwestern School Corp., Madison Consolidated Schools, Fine Threads,
Village Lights Bookstore, and more.
As Kelsey looks to the future of the parade, he reflects that Madison
has many special events, but I feel the Christmas offerings could really
be ramped up, and the parade could be a central element of that.
For more information, contact Aaron Kelsey
or Community Relations Director Andrew Forrester at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (812) 265-8300. Entry forms and parade rules can also be found online
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