The largest Christmas parade in Arizona will hit the streets of Winslow for the 55th year in a row Saturday afternoon.
The Winslow Christmas Parade began as a way to get people in the holiday spirit and into the stores. It is still used for that purpose today. Spectators can stroll the streets of Winslow buying gifts from vendors and popping into downtown shops while enjoying an afternoon of sights.
This year’s parade will feature floats, bands and dignitaries from all over Northern Arizona. Janice Griffith, Co-chair of the parade, said this will be the first year that no equestrian groups will be part of the parade.
In the tradition of the parade, there will be both commercial and non-commercial floats, over 10 marching bands and several dignitaries featured. Some special dignitaries that will be part of the parade are WHS’s Christmas Royalty, royalty from Hopi High School, other royalty from the area and even some U. S. Congressional Candidates.
The usual vendors will once again line the streets selling food, drinks, arts and crafts and baked goods.
Griffith explained that the food vendors are faced with a new challenge this year due to the Navajo County Health Department placing a new restriction on them. The Health Department now requires that food is made in an inspected restaurant kitchen. She added that it is uncertain if the health inspectors will give warnings this year or if they will actually shut down vendors who did not meet this new requirement.
According to Griffith, the parade is a great time to buy Native American jewelry. “Families spend all year making good quality jewelry,” she said.
As usual, Santa Claus will close the parade on top of a fire engine and will be available at the Standin’ on the Corner park for pictures with the kids.
Griffith said the tradition of the parade is what keep bringing people back year after year. “There are people who have been coming to watch for years and they’ve gotten too old to drive out, so they have friends drive them and set up a chair on the street,” she said. In order to give those who can’t make it out to the route a chance to see what they’re missing, Loy Engelhardt of KINO Radio does a live broadcast of the parade.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. The route for this year will start at the corner of Third Street and Hicks Ave and proceed eastbound, against the usual traffic, for ten blocks. The parade then runs westbound and ends up at the Hubbell Trading Post.
Griffith encourages everyone to come out and make this year a safe and successful one.
See next week’s edition of the Winslow Mail for pictures of the parade winners.