Elves, reindeer, floats and a deluge of holiday fun will be showcased Saturday at the 18th annual Merced Hometown Christmas Parade.
This year's theme is "A Musical Christmas." The event will be downtown starting at 11 a.m. Singers and dancers will perform at Bob Hart Square on the hour. There will be crafts and food vendors stationed on Canal Street.
This year's parade grand marshal will be Gregory Christiansen, who was a former band director at Golden Valley High School and of the Merced Marching 100.
There also will be local high school and junior high bands, as well as two children's singing groups, said Joaquina Lee, co-chairwoman of the parade
"This year is really geared toward children," she said. "The parade is for the community. As many as can come out and enjoy, we'd like to see them there."
The parade will start at 3 p.m. on Main Street. There will be prizes, and cash awards given to the best decorated floats.
After the parade, the lighting of the MERCO Credit Union Community Christmas Tree will be held at Bob Hart Square. There will be complimentary hot chocolate and cookies.
The event is organized by the Active 20-30 Club of Merced 53. The parade also receives support from the Education Employees Credit Union, Scholle Packaging and the city of Merced.
Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.