Everyone has “favorite holiday memories” and many of them will be on display Sunday, Dec. 8 at 1:30 p.m. when the annual Wellington Holiday Parade kicks off. In fact, that will be the theme of this year’s edition, which also features the hometown story of a local girl making it big when nationally known country music artist Emily Brooke, originally from Wellington and a top finalist on the hit TV show American Idol, returns to serve as grand marshal.
Following the traditional route up Forest Hill Blvd. from Wellington Trace to the Wellington Amphitheater, the annual parade produced by the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and Village of Wellington draws some 20,000 spectators. In order to provide for a safe path for them all, road closures will begin at 1 p.m.
Chamber CEO Mary Lou Bedford said the theme “Favorite Holiday Memories” is drawing some very colorful entrants this year. “The parade has grown to be multi-generational over the years, with some cases of grandparents and grandkids coming out,” she said. “It reaches out to the community as a whole, to support and celebrate our entire area, and it is a nice beginning to our equestrian season.”
The day begins at Holiday Park at the Wellington Amphitheater at 10:30 a.m., which continues until after the parade at 3:30 p.m.
“There will be live performances from local elementary schools, exhibitors offering arts and crafts, food, interactive displays with local businesses and more,” explained Bedford, who thanked the many sponsors who help bring this holiday tradition to life.
That includes title sponsor Wellington Regional Medical Center.
“For 36 years, the chamber’s annual parade has served as a great way to kick off the holiday season, and Wellington Regional Medical Center is so happy to be the title sponsor for this festive holiday event,” WRMC CEO Pam Tahan said.
Kimberly Leland of Print It Plus, who co-chairs the parade with her husband Dave, is proud that the event continues to grow every year. She and her husband have been helping with the staging of the parade for the last 30 years and took over as co-chairs this year.
“We have brought our family members in to help out,” said Leland, who said she has recruited family, spouses and friends. “I hope this will be the best one yet. We have all the local high school bands, and even the band from Pahokee High School. We are really excited about all the bands participating.”
For those who walk and ride in the parade, it is a labor of love they anticipate as the holiday season comes around.
“Our staff and their families look forward to participating each year and use the time to grow even closer as we prepare our annual float. It is a fantastic holiday tradition for the Village of Wellington, and we are happy to participate in it again,” said Tahan, who took the opportunity to offer holiday greetings to the community. “WRMC wishes you and your family a holiday season filled with love, laughter and good health.”
Other sponsors of the event include the Schumacher Family of Dealerships, Baptist Health South Florida, the City of Greenacres, Minto Communities, TD Bank, Waste Management, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, the Center for Bone & Joint Surgery, Retreat Behavioral Health, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, Print It Plus, Bolay, Two Men and a Truck, Costco Wholesale, Starbucks, Hill Audio Visual, the Royal Inn, the South Florida Fair, PCI, Signs by Tomorrow, Primerica and Walgreens.
To learn more about the Wellington Holiday Parade, visit www.cpbchamber.com.