Burnside Christmas Parade to ho-ho-roll down U.S. 27 Dec. 14

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Santa Claus is always a big hit at the Burnside Christmas Parade, but this year's main attraction might be the $25,000 giveaway for the Burnside Big Bucks Sweepstakes

"

It's kind of like 'Elf' meets 'Dodgeball.'"

Frank Crabtree Jr., Burnside Tourism Director, used that mash-up of modern favorite films to describe the newest edition to the annual Burnside Christmas Parade festivities: The world's largest yellow snowball fight.

Don't worry. The snow isn't yellow because of the usual reason (ahem). And the snow isn't real either.

"We had somebody come in and they donated a huge amount of these styrofoam snowballs," said Crabtree. "Whether it's snowing or not, we're going to have a huge snowball fight."

Whether it's the "world's largest snowball fight" or not for sure remains to be seen, but there will be a special "snowball fight arena" set up as part of the overall atmosphere on Saturday, December 14 in Burnside.

This year's theme is "Christmas Movies Come to Life." Floats may represent some of the most beloved holiday classic ever to grace the silver screen.

The parade starts at 5 p.m., and travel the usual route starting at Oak Street and going down South U.S. 27 Main Street to East Lakeshore Drive.

"We're going to have a full line-up of floats. It should be one of the biggest parades Burnside has ever had," said Crabtree, organizing his first Burnside Christmas Parade this year. While there's no count available yet of parade participants, "if you get the participants in the parade, the floats will come, as long as the weather's good."

Crabtree has already had success pumping up Burnside's attendance numbers for holiday events. All the records were shattered this past July when over 10,000 people attended the Independence Day celebration in downtown Burnside.

There's plenty going on besides just the parade, though. One big factor is the announcement of the Burnside Big Bucks Sweepstakes. One lucky winner will win $25,000, with the drawing taking place at about 5 p.m. at Burnside City Hall around the start of the parade. You must be present to draw for the big prize.

The Burnside Big Bucks Sweepstakes saw people able to fill out forms to enter at one of several participating businesses. Those forms are put into a pool of contestants, from which names will be drawn. Only one person will be drawn to win the $25,000 sweepstakes contest, but Burnside will also draw for additional prizes as well.

Sponsors of the three-month sweepstakes campaign include the Don Franklin Family of Dealerships, Harbor Restaurant and Tavern, Reno's Roadhouse, and Burritos Cha Cha Cha.

"It's been very successful," said Crabtree. "Someone has a chance to win 25 grand; that's something no other parade has had."

Santa's Secret Shop, which will be located in the new building across U.S. 27 from the Seven Gables Motel. There will be about 20 vendors there, everything from local craftspeople to big-name brands, making available Christmas decorations, hot chocolate sweets, "everything that fits perfectly with the Christmas parade," said Crabtree.

And then there's the "snowball" fight (those worried about safety are assured that the styrofoam balls are softer than Nerf balls, said Crabtree).

"It's something to get the crowd active," he said, "not just watching the parade but having fun with the family."

Crabtree is happy to have had the task of putting together the Burnside Christmas Parade this year, but knows it couldn't have been possible without help from other "elves" in Burnside government.

"There are a lot of details that could be possibly be overlooked," he said. "It's been really good to have Mayor (Robert) Lawson and (City Clerk) Crissa (Morris) and the rest of the staff at City Hall. They've been supportive and my Tourism Board been really supportive."

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