HEYWORTH — A sure sign that the holidays are approaching is the arrival of the area’s first Christmas parade.
With a theme of “Holidays, Heyworth style,” it will step off at 2 p.m. Sunday in downtown Heyworth.
“We are one of the first parades of the season and we sometimes catch a little flack for that,” said Rodger Zook, a member of the Heyworth Christmas Organization. “But we are very proud of that. What do I know, anyway? I voted for July.”
Being the first parade of the season has its advantages, said Diane Green, the Heyworth Christmas Organization president.
“I hear comments both ways, because some think it's too soon but so many of the entrants appreciate it being early,” she said. "We used to be the last parade in the area on the second Sunday in December, but after the blizzard in 2010, we moved it to the second Sunday in November.
"We have had huge crowds ever since. And everyone seems to get into the spirit earlier.”
The temperature is expected to be around 43 degrees in downtown Heyworth on Sunday, but the parade was canceled in December 1995 because of bitter cold.
“At this time of the year, you never know what you are going to get with the weather,” Zook added.
About 75 entries are expected, including the Heyworth High School marching band. The annual holiday craft fair and bake sale at the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts will begin following the parade.
“We work very hard to get as many entries as we can,” Zook said. “We look for things that are unique or different.”
For instance, Rick Sullivan of Kathy’s Auto Body in Clinton will be bringing three of his creations, including his upside-down truck, his Radio Flyer convertible and his motorized princess carriage.
Also scheduled to appear is a 1942 American La France fire truck that was transformed into a mobile wedding chapel on an episode of "Trick My Truck." The truck is owned by Darrel Best of Shelbyville.
“I’ve worked for three years to get that here,” Zook said. “I’m really excited and think it will be very popular.”
There also will be an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, several people in costume, classic vehicles, floats and an appearance by Santa Claus.
Zook said it is difficult to estimate the crowds that annually attend the parade, but notes that it is in the hundreds.
“Of course a lot of it depends on the weather, but normally, it is about four deep, for three or four straight blocks,” he said. “It’s a good, community event for all ages and as always, there will be lots of candy for the kids.”