Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune
---- — “The community really likes” the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade, reports executive director Melissa Tucker. “People say they always look forward” to it. The event seems to bring out “that community pride and togetherness” of family and friends.
With the theme “A Birthday and Family Celebration,” the procession will take place Saturday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m.
When asked about float decorating ideas, Ryan Tekulve, the 11-year parade chairman, says, “Really, it comes down to what is a tradition for that family? ... People gathered around the Christmas tree, opening up presents, going out Christmas caroling. We’re excited to find out what people do to portray the theme this year.”
From 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., spectators can visit food and craft booths while enjoying entertainment and dining in tents at Batesville Shopping Village. The chamber sponsors all activities.
Entertainment will keep attendees merry. Mike Fritsch and his family will sing carols starting at 11:30 a.m., followed by Dance Studio students performing at 12:15 p.m. The Eureka Band will fill the air with festive tunes from 2-3 p.m.
On sale at enticing booths manned by nonprofit and business workers will be beef, hot dogs, soups, baked goods, walking tacos, crafts, apple cobbler and ice cream, cheese balls, pecans, hot chocolate, coffee, chamber gift certificates and 2014 coupon books, according to Tucker. A few more booth spots are available. They are free to chamber members and $15 for nonmembers.
Tekulve would like to see at least 70 parade entries, the same number as the past two years. He maintains businesses and organizations should participate because “not only is it a lot of fun, being part of the festivities, ... but it’s also a way to give back to the community as well. It does draw visitors into the Batesville area,” who support local businesses by shopping.
While organizers would like to receive parade applications beforehand, “it’s definitely not too late to sign up even the day of or the night before. Come and show up. We’re anxious to keep building this year after year.”
Parade and booth application forms, preferably due by Nov. 19, are available at http://batesvillein.com (click on Community, then Event Apps),The Herald-Tribune and WRBI.
Lineup begins at 11:30 a.m. on Columbus Avenue along Batesville Intermediate School with judging at 12:30 p.m. The procession will head south on Mulberry Street from Columbus Avenue, east on West Pearl Street, north on Main Street, east on Boehringer Street, south on Park Avenue, west on George Street and north on Mulberry back to the start.
Grand marshals are the chamber’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award winner Doug Bessler and Educator of the Year Anne Amrhein. Two nonprofits honored by the chamber also will be cheered: the Eureka Band as Distinguished Volunteer Group and Rural Alliance for the Arts as Distinguished Organization.
Banners will be displayed in front of the three best floats, which will earn plaques and be displayed after the procession near the Village Green. The top three will receive $100, $75 and $50 in chamber gift certificates, respectively.
Families that want to view the winning floats and Santa in his carriage will need to stand on the route before the intersection of George and Walnut streets, where those entries will exit the procession to avoid getting in after-parade traffic.
For Tekulve, the parade’s greatest challenge “is really just about finalizing all the small details and making sure everybody is on the same page.” Helpers include a chamber committee; street department, police and fire personnel; and a bunch of Tekulve’s family and friends.
The fun continues afterwards in the heart of Batesville. Kids gravitate around one symbol of the season, live reindeer, sponsored by Whitetail Acres Nursery & Landscaping, Brookville. “They like to pet them,” reports the chamber director.
In his workshop, Mr. Claus will be greeting children and passing out small gifts as parents take photos. Tucker points out, “This is his first visit to Batesville. The kids really enjoy sharing what they would like for the holidays.” Children will be able to chat with the Jolly Old Elf in his downtown workshop on two other Saturdays: Dec. 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Dec. 14, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
In an effort to get residents to shop locally, chamber officials will sell gift certificates there the entire time and offer a drawing. Persons may pick up free numbered tickets, then at 2:45 p.m. $500 in gift certificates that can be used at 180 businesses will be given away. Five lucky ticket holders each will get $100 worth courtesy of chamber members. The only rule: “You must be present to win.”
Tucker always looks forward to the holiday season kickoff because “everybody’s in a good mood. There are Christmas carols going on ... people from all over come to the parade and we’re excited about that.”
The procession’s chairman adds, “We invite people out. Regardless of what the weather is, it’s always a lot of fun.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.