Wheaton aldermen analyze annual Christmas festivities
City plans Christmas parade for Dec. 13, entry deadline is Sunday
WHEATON -- The Wheaton city council has scrutinized the city's Christmas festivities because parade numbers have dwindled over the last several years.
Because of the lacking turnout, aldermen have discussed whether to have a parade, or to just have children visit Santa Claus.
"The parade itself, I think people look forward to it," said Ryan Henderson, alderman. "I really do. That's just my opinion, whether I know or not if they go to Santa afterward. Driving their trucks [and floats] down Main Street, it's unreal to see the kids enjoy that."
The board decided to keep the parade and to have children meet Santa afterward.
"Well, we'll see how it goes this year," said Naomi Young, alderwoman.
The Wheaton Christmas Parade starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 13, with the participants lining up at Body of Christ Outreach Ministries on Highway 86 at 5 p.m. After the parade, Santa plans to hand out candy and to have his picture taken with children at the Wheaton Depot Museum. Everyone gets free hot chocolate, cookies and hot dogs.
No area bands will attend the parade, said Marianne Witt, Wheaton city clerk.
"It is just highly unfortunate that the Wheaton High School band is no longer in existence," she said.
According to conversations she had with the Wheaton High School, Witt said the choir students may sing Christmas carols before or after the parade on the gazebo in Wheaton City Park.
"No matter what, we will have a parade next year," she said. "[The alderman] really like the camaraderie, people coming to town and that type of thing. I think no matter what size it is, the people will always have it."
Last year, the city canceled the Christmas parade because of heavy snow accumulation and freezing rain.
Each parade category receives cash prizes for first, second and third. All participants must send in their entries by fax at 417-652-7162 or by mail to Wheaton City Hall, P.O. Box 70, Wheaton, MO 64874. The deadline is Sunday.