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Parade returns to morning time slot

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By John Barnhart

After being announced as an evening Christmas parade for this year, Bedford's parade on Dec. 6 will, as usual, take place in the morning.

The parade has begun for a number of years at 11 a.m., but Bedford Main Street decided last summer to change the parade's time to 7 p.m. Main Street handles the parade and other downtown Christmas festivities.

Last summer, Linda Exley, Main Street's executive director, said that starting the parade so close to the Christmas Classic foot race, another downtown event held earlier in the morning on the same day, made it difficult to start the parade on time. She also said that the plan was to have the parade follow a 6 p.m lighting of the city's Christmas tree.

A number of people objected to the change. Some cited a time, in 1986, when the parade was moved to a 7 p.m. start, recalling that it didn't go well.

“I'm happy with whatever time we have it, as long as we have a Christmas parade,” Exley recently commented after the decision was made to return it to the 11 a.m. starting time. Exley said that she was not in charge of making the decision.

Exley said that a number of people who recalled the earlier night parade called and complained about the change, but she said that a night parade, this year, would not have followed the same plan. The complaints led to the decision to return to the 11 a.m. start. She added that, after the change was announced, they have been getting calls from people asking why they are not having a night parade.

“The main reason is that people don't like change,” she said, when asked about the return to a morning time slot.

The foot race, originally cited as the reason for the proposed schedule change, won't be a problem. Exley said that organizers have made arrangements to avoid collisions with the race.

“We still need volunteers,” Exley said.

The parade theme will be “Children’s Holiday Memories,” and floats are to relate to this in some form.

“It's pretty broad,” commented Exley.

The floats will be judged from Main Street's office on the third floor of the Wachovia Building, located at the corner of Main Street and North Bridge Street.

“It's going to be a great parade,” she said.

“Don't just come to the parade, shop downtown,” she went on to say.

Bedford's Christmas festivities begin with the tree lighting at Centertown Park on Nov. 28, 6 p.m.

“We'll have carriage rides, hot chocolate, stuff like that,” Exley said. There will be a caroling, a window contest and downtown merchants will be open late on Friday nights. This will continue through Dec. 19.

Bedford merchants are also having a “Wii Little Christmas” contest. People can get a map and visit each of the stores on the map on Friday nights. Exley said that once they get all the stores on the map stamped, they can turn it in. This enters them in a drawing for a Wii system complete with controllers and games. Exley said that this is a $400 value.