U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to be showcased during annual Christmas parades
SCOTTSBLUFF — Santa will be arriving in the valley a week early this year as Scottsbluff and Gering have moved up their Christmas Parades.
The move was made coincide with the journey of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which will stop in Scottsbluff on Sunday, Nov. 18.
The weekend of activities starts on Saturday, Nov. 17 with the Gering Christmas Parade through downtown.
Lineup for the parade starts at 4 p.m. in Gardner Park on 12th Street. Judging for the top three floats is at about 4:30 p.m. and the parade starts at 5 p.m. and heads south on 10th Street.
“We’ve been receiving registrations every day,” said RaNae Garton, chairman of the Gering Merchants. “We’re looking for a pretty good parade and it just keeps growing every year.”
Taking up the rear of the parade is always Santa, who makes his first appearance at Santa’s Village in the Gering Civic Center east parking lot, where he’ll meet the kids and hear their wish lists. There will be goodie bags for the kids and hot chocolate and cookies for everyone attending.
Along with the igloo, Santa’s toy store, schoolhouse and others, and a new building of a different color will be unveiled – one that’s blue and oinks.
Shaped like a big blue piggy bank, First State Bank is adding the Bank of the North Pole as the newest addition to Santa’s Village.
The official ribbon cutting, actually a “Crack the Candy Cane” ceremony, happens at 4 p.m., just before the parade lineup.
Santa’s Village will be open after the parade until all the kids have a chance to see the jolly elf.
Santa’s Village grand opening is on Friday, Nov. 23. Will Santa arrive by arrive by air, rail or trail? Find out during his special entrance at 6 p.m. Santa’s Village will remain open until 8 p.m.
Santa’s Village will be open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. the next five Saturdays Nov. 24, Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22.
Santa will be bringing his reindeer along for his visit on Dec. 1. Plus, a Pony Express rider will deliver kids’ letters from the Legacy of the Plains Museum to Santa that morning.
Santa’s Village will also be open the evening of Dec. 21 from 6-8 p.m. It’s a great opportunity to get pictures of the lights.
“We’re so blessed with all the support we’ve received from everyone,” Garton said. “This is a great event in the community.”
Everyone participating in the Gering parade is invited to join in the Scottsbluff Christmas Parade the next evening, Nov. 18 starting at 6 p.m.
Santa will be in a locomotive to head up the parade, ending with the Capitol Christmas Tree.
The Capitol Christmas Tree will stop at the Midwest Theater, where there will be a program and music. People are invited to get pictures and sign their names to the banner.
“We have about 45 floats already registered so it should be a robust parade,” said Angela Kembel with the Scottsbluff Downtown Association.
Lineup for the Scottsbluff Christmas Parade is between 5-6 p.m. in the Bluffs Middle School parking lot.
The 18th Street Plaza will also be open with food vendors starting at 4 p.m. And Minatare High School will host the opening of the ice skating rink at 3 p.m.
And fire pits will be ready at the Plaza for people that would like to bring ingredients to make their own s’mores.
The Tri-City Roadrunner service will be available for those who do not want to walk or drive the route and will be running throughout the event.
To help celebrate Friends of the Midwest Theater’s 20th Anniversary, the theater will be showing the movie that started it all, “Home Alone” with show time at 7 p.m. and the event is free to the public.
Commemorative hand-thrown mugs and short-sleeve T-shirts will be available for sale the day of the parade at Scottsbluff Screenprinting from 3-6 p.m.
Anyone that wants to sign up for either or both parades can call Garton at 308-641-2842 or Kembel at 308-765-0599 for more information and sponsorship opportunities.