For nearly a quarter of a century the night after Thanksgiving has served as the time for the annual Christmas parade. That's the case this year with the parade, brought to you by Eagle Radio and the Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce. It is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 27, at 5:30 p.m. with the theme "25 Years of Christmas."
Former Eagle Radio General Manager, Mark Ediger developed the idea while traveling with his wife Avis to visit relatives in southwest Kansas 25 years ago. He witnessed a Christmas parade in another community. "We saw that and we thought I wonder what that would be like in Junction City. Could we do this, it would be fun. "
When it began Ediger noted that they didn't know if anyone would enter or attend the parade. The answer was a resounding yes in both categories and over the years large crowds have been the norm. Ediger noted some of the crowds have been huge. "This year being 2020 and the odd year that we're having with a lot of events that should have taken place that have been cancelled, we were very very serious about whether we ought to do this or not." Ediger said he called city manager Allen Dinkel, who encouraged him to have the parade, which would be something bright and cheery.
The parade begins in the parking lot at Junction City High School, proceeds south on Eisenhower Drive to Sixth Street and then travels east on Sixth Street to the downtown area.
Ediger said one advantage is that the parade is an outside event but organizers want everyone attending to wear a face mask. There's not going to be any contact with Santa Claus after the parade like we usually have. Unfortunately that's something that we've had to call off and that's where Santa meets with the kids after the parade to find out what they want for Christmas."
Santa Claus will travel at the end of the parade, stop at Heritage Park, will greet the public from his carriage, and the holiday lights in the park will then be turned on as the culmination of the event.
Eagle Radio has worked over the years with the Chamber of Commerce to organize the parade. 107.9 FM and 1420 KJCK will broadcast the parade.
Registrations forms may be turned in at the Chamber of Commerce office or submitted via email at [email protected].