Santa Claus is headed back to El Campo on his big red fire truck for the El Campo Chamber’s 33rd annual Christmas parade, which will be held in accordance with COVID-19 safety regulations, chamber leaders say.

The parade will feature a variety of decorated floats from local organizations, businesses and community members, with Santa’s appearance marking the end of the event. This year’s theme “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was selected by the Chamber’s board of directors, and Chamber President Rebecca Munos hopes it will bring a sense of holiday nostalgia.

“I think everyone is looking forward to a nostalgic Christmas since things have slowed down a lot this year (with COVID-19),” Munos said.

In previous years, the parade has had something interesting for all ages to enjoy. Colorful antique tractors, loud motorcycles and festive parade floats are just a few examples of the about 50 parade features every year.

The number of organizations participating could be down due to the pandemic, Chamber leaders say, but there has been a lot of last minute interest. Last week, about five or six floats were registered, but that number jumped to 23 by Monday.

Those participating in the parade will be required to wear masks and social distance on the floats, Munos said. Locals attending are asked to remain in their family groups while watching the parade, and Munos anticipates there will be plenty of room to space out along the parade route.

“Throughout town, we’re reminding people to social distance, and it will be their own responsibility to do that,” she said.

The parade starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3 heading south on Washington Street to Monseratte, passing the depot at Evans Park, turning north on Mechanic Street and then moving up to near Webb Street.

Weather announcements, if needed, will be made on the Chamber and the Leader-News social media sites.

The deadline to register to be in the parade, without a $10 late fee, was 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, and cost is $10 for one person or $25 for a group. To participate in the parade, fill out a form on the Chamber’s website, www.elcampochamber.com.

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