This year's 14th annual Electric Lights Parade in the Town of Niagara will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, along Military Road, beginning at Fourth Avenue and ending at K-Mart.
Each year the Niagara Electric Lights Parade draws several thousand spectators, along with the hundreds who participate in the more than 70 units that consist of bands, floats and community groups and elected officials to help kick off the holiday season. Parade Chairman David Miller said he's looking forward to this year's crowd.
"I'm very excited," Miller said. "The crowd is always impacted by the weather and we're hoping for a good year. There's been a lot of people and we have a lot of people lined up."
Miller said the crowd can expect musical entertainment, local first responders, dance teams, marching bands and much, much more in this year's parade. Miller added that the parade enjoys getting local schools involved for the motorcade down Military Road. Another major highlight of the Electric Lights Parade is the appearance of Santa Claus, who will be on hand to greet the crowd.
Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace said the parade is a nice way to start the festive season.
"The parade is a great venue for the town and a nice way to kick off the holiday season. The parade is early and then we have the Noel at Niagara, which is approximately three weeks later. Holiday season is coming and it's going to be exciting."
Wallace added that it's special to see parade attendees return year in and year out.
"People are coming out, no matter what the weather is like, and it's exciting. Everyone gets excited for Christmas and for the holiday season and we're doing out part and we'll continue to," Wallace said.
Also - one of the top priorities of the parade - the food drive will be part of this year's Niagara Electric Lights Parade, and the public is encouraged to donate for local Niagara County food pantries. Volunteers will gather non-perishable food donations from parade spectators and distribute them through several local agencies. This year, the Greater Niagara Federal Credit Union has joined parade efforts in food collection. Non perishable items may be dropped off at GNFCU, 2901 Military Road, and at the town clerk's office at Town of Niagara Town Hall, 7105 Lockport Road, during regular business hours. Wallace praised the work that the food drive accomplishes.
"The food drive, which is being run, is outstanding. People bring in their food (and) the canned goods and it's actually gotten so large they've had to get trucks to bring it in," Wallace said.
The major sponsor for the parade is Republic Services (Allied Waste Industries of Niagara Falls). Allied Waste owns and operates the Niagara Falls Sanitary Landfill, located at the intersection of 56th Street and Niagara Falls Boulevard.
The Electric Lights Parade is organized and presented by the Town of Niagara and the Town of Niagara Business and Professional Association Inc.
Also, the parade will once again be marshaled by the Niagara-Wheatfield Kiwanis Club.
Miller said the club is a big part to why the parade flows smoothly.
"They're a huge help," Miller said. "Without them setting up, getting everybody lined up and in formation, you'd be lost. They do a good job getting everyone together."
Overall, Miller said, "We hope to put on the best parade possible and keep making it better and better each year for the community who enjoys it. They're out there, rain, snow, or shine. We got a lot of troopers out there. ... Last year the attendance was great and this year we only hope for better."
Tribune Editor David Yarger contributed to this report