Santa to arrive in mini-parade on Saturday

A KID-SIZED trackless train will be featured in the Chamber’s “The Polar Express” themed Winter Wonderland lighted Christmas mini parade on Saturday, and will give free rides after the event.

Staff Report

Kids can visit Santa, ride the train, eat treats

The Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the arrival of Santa Claus with a lighted Christmas mini parade, on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in place of the Nov. 30 parade that was canceled due to inclement weather. The holiday kickoff will be held only on North Water Street, between Mill Street and Baltimore Street. Floats, the Marching Wildcats band, the “Polar Express” trackless train and Santa in his carriage will parade south on Water Street from Chicago Street to Jackson where they will circle over to Main Street and back on Mill to Water. The floats will park in the 300 block of North Water for spectator viewing. On the parade’s return trip, Santa will alight from his carriage at the Chamber’s Santa House, which will be parked near the corner of North Water and Jackson Street. At the Santa house, he’ll visit with youngsters and listen to their Christmas wishes. There will also be costumed characters nearby for photo ops and to mingle with children. Chamber President Steve Evans will present the 2019 Business Person of the Year Award to Jim Lombardi from Lombardi Chevy-Buick in front of the Santa house. The “Polar Express” train that pulls up to 20 children and adults at a time will offer free rides on North Water Street. The ticket booth will be located near Hayden’s Crossing. Youngsters and their parents who want to ride the train will need to get a free ticket from the ticket booth. All boarding will take place from the ticket booth area. The train will stay on North Water, running between Baltimore and Mill. Free hot dogs, hot chocolate and popcorn will be handed out at various stores. The Wilmington Lions Club’s Island Christmas display on the North Island will also be lit, and offer miniature horse-drawn carriage rides. The island park is easily accessed by the pedestrian bridge over the millrace at Jackson Street. Streets in the downtown district will be closed at 3 p.m., including North Water, Chicago, Van Buren and Jackson streets, as well as the alleys between Mill and Van Buren and Van Buren and Jackson streets. Spectator parking will be available in the city parking lot on North Main Street and the lot on the west side of the millrace. Street parking can be found on Kankakee Street, and select side streets east of Main Street. Streets will open by 8 p.m. for a Midnight Madness shopping event in the downtown stores.