NORWICH — The annual Parade of Lights will return to North Broad Street for its 27th year at 6 p.m. this Saturday, November 25.
The parade route has been extended this year to accommodate the large crowds seen in the last few years; floats and groups will march from NBT Bank down to Cortland Street.
"It was packed last year so we kind of extended the route a little so we could spread people out a little bit," said Norwich Business Improvement District Board Member Mindy Chawgo.
The parade currently has more than 70 entries, with room for more. Families, businesses, organizations, nonprofits, churches, schools, clubs, public safety organizations, and more are welcome to participate.
Groups have until Friday, November 24 to sign up. Registration forms can be found in the Evening Sun, on the Saturday in the Park and the Norwich Business Improvement District Facebook pages, or by calling Norwich BID Board Member Mindy Chawgo at 607-226-2211.
Parade lineups will be emailed out this week, and on Saturday floats and marchers will begin lining up at 5:30 p.m.
Chawgo said parade marchers are allowed to hand out candy, but no participants in the parade can dress up as Santa.
"There’s only one Santa in the parade, and we’ll guide him into the parade on the horse drawn carriage," said Chawgo. "Then after the parade he will be in the park doing meet and greets, and then Chobani will be doing their case giveaway. I'm so excited. That's always a big hit."
Following the parade, spectators can stop by Santa's Igloo for photos, or head over to the East Park stage to pick up a case of yogurt provided by Chobani. The parade also kicks off Santa's Igloo hours, which will be posted online when they become available.
Chawgo said the Parade of Lights was once again made possible by Chobani, who is funding the event, as well as support from the Norwich Family YMCA and Rentals To Go.
Holiday festivities don't end with the parade. Santa Pictures with Pets will return to Santa's Igloo on December 6 and 9, and Chawgo said she's also planning holiday-themed vendor events for December 9 and 23.
"We’re kicking in like carolers, roasting chestnuts downtown, and s'mores bars and things like that. So that should be a nice little fun kind of winter festival downtown," she said. "We’re going to do like a little soup crawl, a little wine crawl. So it should be fun."
Keep an eye on the Norwich Business Improvement District Facebook page for more details about upcoming festive events.