The Christmas spirit will be displayed in abundance this Saturday in downtown Paris when the annual Holly Jolly Electric Christmas Parade and the Downtown Christmas Festival hope to bring in thousands of holiday lovers.

Santa Claus will be the main attraction during the festival, then it’s Clifford the Big Red Dog who will be serving as the grand marshal for the parade.

Santa, Mrs. Claus, their elves and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are expected to roll into town about 3 p.m.

Stores will be open for shopping, the REAL Hope Youth Center will be leading games for children and local 4-H members will make a unique handprint Santa and yarn Christmas trees, as well as snowmen and reindeer Christmas ornaments.

Leslie Sensing’s “reindeer goats” will be on hand around Santa’s house to visit with the children.

There will be a trackless train ride. Also, The Wimberley Agency, 124 W. Washington St., will be hosting Christmas stories read by Monroe Robbins and will be serving free hot chocolate from 3-5 p.m.

The Community Band will be performing at 3 p.m. A sketch crawl led by Ann Stapp is scheduled from 3-4 p.m. and will begin at the front steps of the courthouse.

Other tasty treats around the square will include s’mores, courtesy of the Paris Fire Department.  

After the festival, it will be parade time at 5 p.m.

Clifford the Big Red Dog from WLJT-TV in Martin should bring plenty of joy to the little ones.

“Clifford is the star of movies, television and books,” said Kathy Ray, executive director of the Downtown Paris Association. “If you have children, you won’t want to miss Clifford and Rocky T The Reading Ranger.”

Dale O’Daniel has been named the 2017 DPA ambassador for the parade.

“One of the biggest honors our organization can offer an individual is the invitation to join us for this event as the DPA ambassador,” said Ray. “Dale is recently retired from the City of Paris, where he worked so hard to make Christmas and dozens of downtown events really shine. He is one of the individuals who make Paris stand out as a special place and we are thrilled that he will be riding in the parade on this festive night.”

Vickey Roberts, the event chairman, said the parade is expected to have entrants lighting up floats, golf carts, ATVs, small tractors and marching units.

The entry fee is $10.

Trophies are awarded in the following categories: Most Christmas Spirit, Best Religious Theme, Best Decorated Vehicle, Best Decorated Float, Best Decorated Golf Cart or Small Tractor, Best Marching Unit and the Clark Griswold award for the best knock-you-socks-off entry.

Applications and guidelines are available at the DPA office at 203 N. Fentress St. or online at VisitDowntownParis.com. For more information, call 731-653-PARIS.  

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