PRINCETON — Despite wet weather conditions spectators stepped out to enjoy the annual Princeton Christmas Parade.

Children, adults, and pets enjoyed the festive celebration. With Thanksgiving having come and gone the parade marks the unofficial ringing in of the Christmas season.

“The Princeton Christmas Parade has always been kind of a kick-off to all parades in our area. As the only night parade it gives a unique perspective, and with the lights, really gives that special flair and sparkle,” Mercer County Commissioner Greg Puckett said.

At the parade sparkling floats, glistening lights, and candy entertained the many children enjoying the parade. From Frozen to The Grinch’s whoville, and more, the floats excited guests for the upcoming holiday.

“This year the parade is much more visible with new LED lighting downtown. Add that to all the new businesses and their lights, and it gives even more nostalgia to days past,” Puckett said.

To spread awareness of adoption many dogs from the Mercer County Animal Shelter (MCAS) participated in the parade. Information on the dogs that walked amidst the floats can be found at the animal shelter.

Accompanying Buttons, a female dog available at the shelter, Cordell Waulk, enjoyed seeing the dogs spend some time outside of the shelter. As an employee of the MCAS Waulk spends a lot of time with the animals.

Walking several of the dogs through the parade was to show spectators how many wonderful animals are looking for their forever home, according to Waulk.

The parade is also an annual opportunity for the community to connect with those they may not get to on an everyday basis. Officers and firemen of the Princeton City Police Department and Princeton City Fire Department enjoyed the festive atmosphere.

“The parade gives the community a chance to come together and see all the floats and crafts that the community has put together,” Ptlm. B.L. Charette said.

As an officer of Princeton Charette enjoys seeing the city positively thrive. Holiday festivities allow this opportunity for emergency personnel and citizens to interact.

“It gives people a chance to shop locally here on Mercer Street and I think it’s a tradition that needs to continue,” Charette said.

Coinciding with Small Business Saturday, the parade draws even more patrons into the local businesses.

“Economically it shows that our downtown is coming back to life and revitalizing that spirit that once drove the town forward. People need to see that we have changed our environment and we are welcoming a new generation downtown,” Puckett said.

Rather than on the first Monday after Thanksgiving, the parade took place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The 2019 date change was the first year of the parade being changed after the decision by the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at ecoppola@bdtonline.com

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