Chestnut Hill’s Holiday Parade is making a comeback after being canceled for three years because of COVID and inclement weather.
The parade’s Dec. 10th return has thrilled neighbors who say that they are more than ready to put past troubles behind them, said Brien Tilley, a longtime member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association and co-organizer of this year’s parade.
“We’re excited. I mean, there’s so much to celebrate right now. We’ve been getting back-to-normal activities over the last few months, and this would be a nice way to celebrate the season as a community,” Tilley said. “We’re hoping that a bunch of people come out and line the Avenue.”
The parade route starts at the top of the Hill at Germantown and Chestnut Hill Avenues, and makes its way down to Market at the Fareway. Festivities begin at 8:30 a.m. when bands will be playing along the Avenue and getting everyone ready for the parade itself, which starts at 9 a.m.
The hour-long march down the Avenue will be accompanied by deejays playing Christmas carols and announcing each group that passes along the route. So far more than 20 community organizations are scheduled to participate, including the Springfield Township High School Choir, the Philadelphia Mounted Police patrol, the La Salle High School Prep Band, Engine 37 of the Philadelphia Fire Department, Wyndmoor Hose Company No. 1 and a procession of antique cars.
The Phillie Phanatic will also be there, as will Santa, of course. He’ll be waiting at the end of the parade, at the Fareway, so children can have their pictures taken with him. The CHCA asks that attendees bring their cell phones to take their own photographs with Santa.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Tilley said. “The parade is very organic in nature. Although we organize it very well, the overall nature of it is not designed to be super choreographed. We provide the canvas and we enjoy letting our participants try whatever they want to do.”
Everyone is welcome and there is still time to get involved. Anyone wanting to participate should contact the CHCA or Tilley.
“It’s never too late. That’s the kind of parade we are. If you want to march, great. If you have a band or choir, the more the merrier. We’ll welcome them with open arms to join in on the fun,” Tilley said.
The CHCA is hoping for a big turnout.
“I can’t encourage people enough to come on out and cheer for the people and the bands and the kids and enjoy the Phillie Phanatic and Santa,” Tilley said. “The dynamic is all the better with more people out there watching and enjoying the experience.”
The rain date for the parade is Dec. 17.