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Christmas Parade is Saturday

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The Bedford Christmas Parade will be held this Saturday, Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. in Historic Centertown Bedford.

The Centertown Tree Lighting will be held at 6 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 30. A window decorating contest will also be held and those attending will be able to vote for their favorite decorated storefront.

There will be carriage rides, caroling and refreshments to add to the festivities. Stores will stay open late offering holiday deals.

The parade theme will be ?Songs for the Holidays.? More than 160 units, including all three Bedford County High School marching bands, are scheduled to appear in the parade. The VMI Cadets, ROTC, state and local dignitaries, youth groups, church groups, non-profit organizations, horses and, of course, Old Saint Nick himself, will also appear.

Lacey Putney will serve as the grand marshal of this year's parade. Putney has served in the Virginia House of Delegates for 46 years and was earlier this month elected to another term.

After the parade, the North Pole at Bedford?s Centertown Park will be open for an opportunity for kids to have professional photos and talk with Santa Claus.

"A chat with Santa is a must, shopping Centertown is always an event, and a visit to the Museum will light up the eyes of young and old alike," noted Linda Exley, executive director of Bedford Main Street, Inc.

Santa will appear at the Bedford/North Pole location Dec. 1 through Dec. 22 on Fridays (6 -9 p.m.) and Saturdays (1-4 p.m.).

There will also be opportunities throughout December to enjoy a traditional holiday evening in Centertown Bedford, complete with carriage rides, caroling and more. Those will be held on Friday evenings, Dec. 7, 14 and 21 from 6 - 9 p.m. and on Saturday afternoons, Dec. 8, 15 and 22 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Those taking in the weekend activities will be able to enjoy refreshments and sales in Centertown shops and restaurants as well as being able to take the children to visit Santa at his Bedford Centertown Park office. Photos will be available for purchase.

There will also be exhibits and various activities at the Bower Center. The Bedford City/County Museum on E. Main St. in Centertown will have a Christmas Train and a small gift for all the children.

"What a grand way to celebrate the season with family and friends," Exley noted.

Volunteers are also needed to help with parade line-up, traffic control, and distributing programs to spectators in Centertown. To volunteer, call 586-2148.

Parade Route: College Street, right onto Peaks Street, right onto North Bridge Street, left onto East Main Street, right on South Street, right on Washington Street, right on Center Street, left on West Main Street, right on 4th Street, left on to Macon Street and Right on to Summit Street. All marching bands and all equestrians can continue to Bedford Avenue.

Street Closures for the Parade are as follows:

From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ? College Street, Ashland Avenue from curve of Recreation Field to Elks Home Driveway, Bedford Avenue Extension from 4th Street to curve at Recreation Field and Mountain Avenue.

From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ? Peaks Street from College Street to North Bridge Street, North Bridge Street to East Main Street, East Main Street from North Bridge to South Street, South Street from East Main Street to Washington Street, Washington Street from South Street to Center Street, Center Street, West Main Street from Center Street to 4th Street and 4th Street, Macon St, Summit St.

The parade will be led by police cruisers, followed by the Christmas Parade Banner carried by representatives of Bedford Middle School. The VMI Color Guard will follow. Other entrants up front include: Bedford Main Street, Bedford Mayor Skip Tharp, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors, Bedford JROTC Battalion, Del. Putney, Del. Kathy Byron, Sen. Steve Newman and family, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 54, a combined color guard, American Legion Bedford Post 54, Miss Virginia, Junior Cadets, Company A, USAF recruiter, VFW and American Legion Lynchburg Post.

Parade entrants this year include: Bedford Toys for Tots, Forest Volunteer Fire Co, Bedford Movers, Little Town Players, A Karl Ehishlager, Jefferson Forest Marching, BCPS Army Junior ROTC, Bedford Lifesaving Crew, Cub Scout Pack 581, Vintage Hearts-Red Hat Soc, Ronnie and Dorothy Whorley, Big Island 4 Wheel Club, BATZAM/Self Promotion, Staunton River Cheerleaders, Bedford Humane Society, Carl Hicks, David & Marie Jackson, Indivigiac, Girl Scout Troop 574, Cintas Corporation, AIM USA Cheer, Forest Volunteer Fire Co, VA Dept of Transportation, Wal-Mart 1399 Bedford, Shrine Clown Unit, Clay Chastain, Holy Name of Mary, Haydon, Jefferson College Heath Sciences, BC Riders, Blalock Studios, Cub Scout Pack 417, Chaparral Park Ins, Lynchburg Area PTCruisers, Goldwing Road Riders, Lumpkins Marina, Emeraldettes Baton Corps, Thaxton Baptist Church, Saunders Vol Fire Dept, Lester Decker, Virginia Corvette Club, Red Hats-Feathers&Flowers, Bedford Science & Tech, Liberty Baptist Church, Orange Street Cruisers, Bedford Hospice Care, MVM Farm, Outlaw Gang Riding Club, Elks National Home, Bedford Elks Lodge #2844, New Covenant Fellowship, Red Hats - Redbuds Of Bedford, Bill Parks, Cedar Creek, Tracey Davis, Double D Welch Ponies, Hugh Saunders, Bedford Public Library System, Liberty HS Marching Band, Heart of VA Parrot Head Club, Bedford Elementary Chorus, Staunton River Marching Band, Montvale Fire Company, Fredric's Flowers, Robert M Bryant, Peaks of Otter Winery & Orchards, ACW&MCW Professional Wrestlers, Safe Harbor Community Church, Bedford Humane Society, Westside Patriots, David Armstrong, Oddfellows & Rebekahs, K92 Radio, Triple-F-Farm & Red Hat Ladies, Gene D. Kelley, Clear Channel Radio WYYD, Clear Channel Radio Sunny FM, Clear Channel Radio WROV, Clear Channel Radio Jammin JJS, Tori MacArthur, Staunton River HS Cheerleading, Girl Scout Troop 399, Peaks of Otter VFW Post 2157, Spirit FM Radio, Big Island Vol Fire Department, Lighthouse Freewill Baptist Church, Peaksview Charge Methodist Church, PASA - YMCA, Bedford Science & Tech, J.T. Moore, Blankenship Commercial Imaging, Smith Mountain FFA, Star City Falcons, Bedford Hospice Care, Blue Ridge Rough Riders, O. Preston Layne, Cub Scout Pack 183, Danny Hall, SER Art Gallery & Studio, Vito's Pizza, Moneta Volunteer Fire Dept, Guilded Era, Runk & Pratt of Bedford, Raymond Kasey, Motorcycle Club - Terry Sehnel, Mt Hermon Baptist Church, Chuck Burkes, Lisa D. Miller, Bedford Baptist Church, Moneta Rescue Squad, Emmaus United Methodist Church, Garland Simmons, Toddler Miss Virginia East Coast USA, Thomas Sperry Field, Caldwell's Painting, Cub Scout Pack 122 + 581, Sunshine Supply Co. , Mt Plain Baptist Church, Carl Smith, Big Island Emergency Crew, Bedford Relay for Life, J & J Social Hall, Pack 360 Cub Scouts - Forest, The Sedalia Center-Astride With Pride, WSLC 94.9 Star Country, Probation & Parole, Hot Rod, David Skelly, Bedford Host Lions Club, Kazim Shrine Band and Thaxton Need Team.

For more information, call Bedford Main Street, Inc., 540-586-2148 or visit the Web site at www.centertownbedford.com.