“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
On Friday, December 6th, The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, partnering with the Resource Center, is presenting the annual Jamestown Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration. For over twenty years,n the Christmas Parade has been a popular event bringing Jamestown folks downtown to celebrate the season together. This is an event that truly brings the community together. Local businesses, non-profits, community groups, and church groups all come together to participate and share their Christmas spirit and commitment to the area. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and was a community contribution, decided via a Facebook vote. There is a block party feel to this celebration; children bundled in their hats and mittens run, and play, and dance, as their parents meet up with neighbors and friends to chat and catch up while enjoying the bright cheerful parade floats and music. Band Moms cheer and record the excellent performances of the marching bands, as younger kiddos collect candy and wave to Santa Claus. Folks of all ages brave the cold with hot chocolate or coffee in hand as the entertainment rolls on by.
Community Relations Director Steve Waterson said that “The Resource Center is proud to sponsor the Jamestown holiday parade for the 15th straight year. The parade is a wonderful tradition that is eagerly awaited by many and draws thousands of people downtown to watch and be a part of this magical holiday spectacle. Sponsoring the parade is a way for us to thank the community for all the support it provides year-round to The Resource Center and the people with disabilities we serve. We’re happy to once again partner with the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation to make this special event possible.”
Zach Agett is the Marketing and Events Manager for the JRC, and this is his third year managing the parade. He credits the Resource Center for supporting his efforts. He looks forward to creating a memorable experience that keeps people coming back to the parade year after year. Agett says, “My favorite part of the parade is getting to see all the people that come out and spend their evening together downtown. It’s great to see everyone smiling and happy, and just the general positive atmosphere created. There are so many people that help us make this possible, and I just want to say, ‘thank you!’ in general to everyone who supports, participates, and enjoys the parade!” Zack also says that he hopes people will take the opportunity to get together with friends and family to eat dinner at a local restaurant.
Several downtown businesses have private viewing parties; and Crown Street Roasting Co. sells tickets for patrons to view the parade from inside; and will have a variety of delicious drinks to-go, for those who prefer to enjoy the party outside.
Participants for our 2019 Parade include the Jamestown High School Marching Band, many area firetrucks, and ninety other entries, each one sure to bring their own flair to kick off the holiday celebrations. Events start at 5pm, with the band “For the People” performing in Tracy Plaza. The parade will move down 3rd street beginning at 6:30 pm, making its way to City Hall where it will be Mayor Sam Teresi’s final year to light the Christmas Tree in a traditional tree lighting ceremony, followed by the National Anthem performed by a member of the Infinity music program.
Downtown Decorating Contest
The JRC is the organization behind the holiday window decorating contest for downtown businesses, and onlookers are likely to notice some creative displays during the parade. Windows are to be decorated by Friday November 29th and will stay up until January 1st . Participants register at www.jamestownupclose.com/holiday-decorating-contest, then the votes are made on Facebook. A panel of judges awards the top three with prizes and a separate people’s choice award. Readers are encouraged to participate and vote! Our very own Jamestown Gazette won third place last year. “The businesses always do a great job,” Agett remarked. It’s another cheerful contribution to the holiday season.
The Parks Department and the City of Jamestown have again taken charge of the Christmas Tree set up and decorating. Support from The Jamestown Police Department, Jamestown Fire Department, Jamestown Department of Public Works, and Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has also been vital in preparing for the event. Our local Spectrum network is broadcasting the parade starting at 6:20; they will be located next to the BWB building on 3rd street near the “big chair.” The chair, a new addition to the downtown landscape, is modeled after an old design by Jamestown Lounge, and was a donation to the JRC by Fancher Chair.
Donate to Toys for Tots
Want to donate? Toys for Tots, co-managed by The Resource Center and The Chautauqua Connections Children’s Coalition, plans to collect toys along the parade route this year. They will also man a drop spot at the corner of Spring and 3rd street to make it easy for people to donate. This year, they are giving out coupons for a free Tim Horton’s medium coffee!
Shop Small Win Big
“Shop Small Win Big” is a contest to boost ‘shopping small’ in our community. It starts on Small Business Saturday and will be in effect during the holiday celebration. Over eighty Jamestown businesses are participating in the contest. Any shopper who makes a $10 minimum purchase from a local participating business between November 30th and December 18th is eligible to fill out a ticket at the checkout and get entered to win. Two winners will receive $100 gift cards and eight winners will receive $50 gift cards. Winners will be contacted on December 20th . Agett said they were able to track $78,000 spent at local shops and are hoping for a big increase for 2019.
Santa Sighting & Fireworks
Santa Claus brings up the end of the parade, thanks to Shults Auto Group for once again providing the official transportation, taking him to Tracy Plaza, where he and the announcers will wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and begin the countdown to the spectacular fireworks display. Fireworks are scheduled to begin at approximately 8pm and are sponsored by Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
Santa’s last stop of the evening will be the Jamestown YMCA for Santa’s Workshop, which will be held from 7-9pm. The YMCA plans crafts, face-painting, and other family-friendly activities, including visits with Frosty, Rudolph, and the Y-Guy.
The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation “makes Jamestown better through inspiration, action, and celebration.” Visit www.jamestownrenaissancecorporation.org, www.jamestownupclose.com/christmas-parade-and-holiday-celebration for a schedule of events and sponsors.