ASHTABULA — Organizers promise the Charlie Brown Christmas parade will be full of wonderful holiday fun.
Presented by the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association, the parade will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I love Charlie Brown,” said Suzie Kist, parade organizer. “We’re very excited about this year’s theme, and of course, we will have Mr. and Mrs. Claus.”
The festivities begin at 6 p.m. in Cornelius Park with Christmas carols, Nora the Reindeer and a display of about a dozen decorated Christmas trees.
There’s about a 40-percent chance Mother Nature will rain on Ashtabula’s parade, with a high temperature of about 42 degrees and a low of 29, come nightfall, according to the National Weather Service.
But Kist said a little rain won’t dampen the city’s holiday spirit.
Spectators should take note the parade will travel in the same direction as last year — from north to south along Main Avenue, which is different from previous years, she said.
The parade will begin at West 44th Street and Park Avenue (by the former Carlisle’s store parking lot), travel north on Park Avenue to Lake Avenue, go east on Lake Avenue until it dead ends on Main Avenue, then travel south on Main through downtown to West 48th Street by the railroad tracks, back to Park Avenue, ending at the Carlisle’s parking lot.
“Parade participants have been asked to try and stick with Charlie Brown theme and use lots of Christmas lights, colorful displays, costumes and music,” Kist said.
City Council President John Roskovics said the downtown Christmas parade is always a great way to kick off the holiday season.
“Seeing so many people downtown is just exciting,” he said.
“The parade has grown, the floats are more involved, and of course, the Lakeside band is always great. It’s just a fun night all around.”
The parade also will feature 55 units, including local firefighters, police officers, baton twirlers, dance troupes, scouts, horses, the Lakeside High Marching Band and several holiday floats.
The parade will follow judging for the ADDA’s window/storefront decorating contest and the 10th annual Christmas Trees in the Park decorating contest.
Manners Christmas Tree Farm is donating the trees.
City employees also helped decorate downtown with wreaths.
Merchants must have their windows decorated by 3 p.m. Friday.
Organizers ask that no one dress as Santa for the parade because they have the “real” Santa for the parade, Kist said.
The ADDA also is collecting candy to throw to the children along the parade route. Donations can be dropped off Wednesday through Friday at The Hairapist, 4610 Main Ave., Ashtabula.