Parade to march Nov. 29
The Holiday Lights! parade and season will continue to shine in Gahanna, thanks to sponsorships and community support for the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The parade is the centerpiece of the 2013 Holiday Lights! season and will step off at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29.
"This beloved event has become one of the largest nighttime illuminated holiday events in the Midwest," said Laurie Jadwin, the GCVB's new director (See story, page A2). "In addition to the many new visitors the Holiday Lights! parade attracts each year, it has become an annual family tradition for thousands of central Ohio residents."
Following the failure of the city's May income-tax measure, city officials announced that events such as the parade would have to be funded through outside sources.
"We were delayed with the date to see if we could go forward," Jadwin said. "Luckily, we have generous businesses and partners. AEP will be our primary sponsor. They've done a wonderful job of supporting the Gahanna community. They're one of our most valued community partners.
"The Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau is fortunate to be able to put these holiday events together, along with the annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, without using taxpayer funds," she said.
Initially. the date was going to be changed, Jadwin said, but organizers decided to leave the parade on the Friday after Thanksgiving, at least for this year.
The annual Holiday Lights! parade features lighted entrants that include both community-designed and professionally constructed floats, along with marching bands, equestrian entries and Santa Claus.
The parade attracts more than 15,000 people annually, drawing Gahanna residents and visitors from throughout central Ohio.
Jadwin said nominations are being sought for the parade's grand marshal.
"It should be someone who has been a long-term resident," she said. "We're looking for input for a true star -- someone to celebrate."
About 200 volunteers also will be needed for the parade, the Healthy Holiday 5K Fun Run and the one-mile Family Fun run held Nov. 29, as well as the Character Breakfast for children.
"We've had middle school students through adults volunteer," Jadwin said. "Students need to be able to work independently."
Volunteers will help register runners, distribute race packets, line up the parade and help along the parade route.
Registration for the annual Healthy Holiday 5K Fun Run and one-mile Family Fun Run will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29. The 5K run begins at 10:30 a.m. at Creekside, followed by the Family Fun Run at 10:45 am.
Pre-registration is $25 per adult ($35 on run day). Children ages 12 and younger and families may participate in the Family Fun Run for $10 per person.
For a list of holiday festivities for the Holiday Lights! season, go online to visitgahanna.com.
For sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, call the GCVB at 614-418-9114.