Small towns are great places to experience nearly any holiday. As the Fourth of July does for summer, a quintessential, small-town parade down Main Street in Hailey will kick off the winter holiday season.
The Hailey Hometown Holiday parade will begin its advance southward at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Carbonate Road and Main Street. It will feature "anything and everything with a holiday feel," said Kim Garvin, a member of the South Valley Merchants Alliance.
The alliance has grown impressively over the past few years and is responsible for many events now cropping up with regularity. They are generally organized and funded on donations from its members, the city of Hailey and the Hailey Chamber of Commerce.
"It's a great group of people," Garvin said. "They all have so many great ideas."
There will be parade judging in three categories: Hailey, Hometown and Holiday. Once the parade participants arrive at Roberta McKercher Park, Rick Davis, Hailey's mayor-elect, will light the city's Christmas tree. There will also be caroling by the Woodside Elementary Children's Choir, directed by Dorinda Rendahl.
Via a fire truck, Santa Claus will arrive at the Inn at Ellsworth Estate, where a full-blown village party will take place. Refreshments will include cocoa, free chili courtesy of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, apple cider from Albertsons and homemade cookies as well as candy canes donated by King's. Idaho Lumber has donated propane heaters to keep folks warm outside while the Wood River High School's vocal group, Colla Voce, performs.
Entries for the parade are still being accepted. Either see Garvin at Vintage Gypsy to fill out an application or enter at the parade line-up at 5:30 p.m. on River Street in front of Zaney's.
Garvin said the event will also kick off a promotion to shop the south valley, an area that includes Bellevue, called Shop Mom and Pop Holiday. Any time customers shop locally, they can fill out a card to place in a drop box at the Hailey Atkinsons' Market. Then every Friday night at 6 p.m. in December there will be a drawing for south valley bucks. Unlike last year, participants don't have to be present to win. The south valley bucks will come in denominations of $400, $500 and $600, sums that will greatly increase some lucky folks' holiday joy.