Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
The annual Orange Christmas night-time parade is back on schedule. Again.
The much anticipated, lately controversial Orange Jaycees Christmas Parade was officially canceled this past Monday night, largely in part due to the threat of inclement weather in advance of Friday’s parade, according to parade organizer Niki Monceaux. The parade was originally scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6, but was delayed one week due to prior commitments by Monceaux with the National Jaycees organization which were mandatory.
Instead of being canceled, however, the parade has received a last minute reprieve as the Kiwanis Club of Orange has volunteered to assist in rescheduling the event for 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19.
“This parade has been a mainstay for this community for many years, and it is something that everyone looks forward to every year,” said Shane Johns of The Kiwanis Club of Orange. “I hate to see anything happen to it, and we know the difficulties that Niki (Monceaux) and the Orange Jaycees have had in recent years, so we wanted to come in and help the Jaycees make it a success like it always has been.”
The parade is traditionally held on the first Friday in December. A second Friday in December is often held in case of inclement weather the week prior. This year it is rescheduled for a Thursday.
“We decided to try and hold the event on Thursday because we didn’t want to interrupt any Christmas vacations that might have been planned,” Johns added. “All of the school districts get out on Friday, December 20th, so Thursday was our best option.”
Niki Monceaux of the Orange Jaycees was relieved that representatives of the Kiwanis Club of Orange have agreed to help out this year.
“I’m glad the Kiwanis Club of Orange offered to help the Jaycees with the parade this year,” Monceaux said. “I’ve lived here my whole life, and my kids have gone to the parade every year too. I never wanted to cancel it to begin with, but there was no way for (the Jaycees) to stage it on a weeknight. We just didn’t have the manpower. That’s why I agreed to try it on Thursday next week because the Kiwanis have offered additional manpower to help make the parade happen.”
The parade will follow its traditional route for the newly rescheduled date of Dec. 19. The lineup will begin in the parking lot slightly west of the old Sears parking lot off MacArthur Drive at 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19. The parade will begin at 6 p.m. and proceed down MacArthur Drive into downtown and continuing on Green Avenue before concluding at the Fourth Street intersection.
As of Tuesday, only 19 entries have been submitted to be part of the 2013 Christmas parade. This is down considerably from previous years when the parade welcomed 100 or more entries on average.
Groups, organizations and businesses wishing to enter the parade may pick up an entry form at the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, which is located at the corner of 10th Street and Green Avenue in downtown Orange. Entries may be obtained at Orangekiwanis.com as well.
“At the end of the day, all I want is to have a successful parade,” Monceaux said. “Hopefully, we will get to do that on Thursday (Dec. 19) night.”