With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to bundle up for the annual Old Fashioned Christmas Parade indowntown West Chester. The parade, sponsored by MARS Drinks, will be on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:15 p.m. The parade will begin at the intersection of Market and New streets and travel up to Gay Street, then to Matlack Street and back on to Market Street, going against the flow of traffic. The main streets, Gay and Market, will close at 5:30 p.m., and some side streets will close at various times throughout the day.
Santa Claus will make an appearance in the parade and 19 marching bands from around the area will also perform. Many of the bands will participate in a band competition to be judged later in the evening. A new feature of the event will be the addition of a “Salute to the Troops” portion of the parade that will consist of floats and members of the U.S. Marine Corps, the Valley Forge Military Academy, the Navy Club and the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard. Also new this year will be a holiday toy drive sponsored by WSFS Bank. Spectators are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy to the parade on Friday; there will be boxes placed around downtown for collection. The toys will benefit the Friends Association for the Care and Protection of Children in West Chester. The tree lighting ceremony will be at the corner of High and Market streets at 7 p.m. Also MARS Drinks will offer free hot cocoa and candy on High Street to keep spectators warm. Those in need of holiday spirit after the parade can return to the borough Saturday and Sunday for more festivities. Descriptions and times of all the weekend’s events can be found on the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce Website at www.gwcc.org/.