Chairman: holiday parade promises to be 'spectacular'

By Lynn R. Parks

The annual Christmas parade is set to march through downtown Seaford Saturday, Dec. 2, beginning at 7 p.m. And chairman Dave Layton predicts that it will be a grand parade indeed. "We are not going for the biggest parade," said Layton, president of the Seaford Downtown Association. "We are going for the best." The theme of this year's parade is "Musical Christmas." Five area bands - from Seaford High School, Seaford Middle School, Sussex Tech, Woodbridge High School and Delmar High School - are already lined up. In addition, The Storm, a drum band from Westminster, Md., will march in the parade. Mike Neill, Seaford High School graduate and a member of the gold medal-winning Olympic baseball team, will be parade marshal. Layton describes the opening of the parade, which will include Neill, as a "goose bump-creating moment": "We will start out with the American Legion color guard," he said. "That will be followed by the Junior ROTC color guard and its marching unit, which has won awards. Then will come the Seaford High School marching band. We are trying to arrange two police motorcycle escorts, and maybe an Olympic torch bearer. There will be 60 Nanticoke Little League All-Star players waving 60 flags, then Neill." And the end promises to be as exciting as the beginning. "We will have the Sussex Tech marching band leading in Santa Claus," Layton said. "And Santa will be in a spectacular display." Layton was unwilling to reveal too many of those spectacular details. But he did say that the Jolly Old Elf will be riding in a sleigh, the likes of which have never been seen before in Sussex County. "Of course, the reindeer are busy this time of year, so we couldn't get them to pull the sleigh," he quipped. Instead, Clydesdale horses will power the sleigh down the street. Both the sleigh and the horses will be lighted.

"We will have a great beginning and end," said Layton. "Hopefully, the middle will have really nice stuff too." Organizers with the parade are working to make it "tighter," Layton said, meaning that there will be fewer gaps. Units will be arranged by town - for example, state Teacher of the Year Juley Harper, Delmar Middle School, will be accompanied by the award-winning Delmar cheerleaders and by the Delmar High School band. The parade will march down Pennsylvania Avenue to High Street to Market Street, where it will turn left toward Blades. It will cross the Nanticoke River bridge and end up at the Bedco parking lot in Blades. "The park will be lit up, as well as the River Walk," Layton said. "That's why we wanted to turn toward Blades, because it is so festive along there." A pre-parade show, starting at 6:30, will feature the youth group from the Church of God, who will sing Christmas carols. They will be standing on High Street, in front of the Mt. Olivet parking lot. The judge's stand will also be located there. Entries for the parade are still being accepted. Floats and marching units should feature music to keep in line with the theme, Layton said, and as the parade is at night, should be lighted. Awards will be handed out in the Bedco parking lot following the parade. Layton said that the newly-renovated downtown is the inspiration for this year's parade. About half of downtown's stores and eateries will be open, he added. Pre-registration to participate in the parade is required. For details, call Sharon Drugash at Seaford City Hall, 629-9173.

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