By MELINDA KRICK

Progress Editor

PAULDING – An evening Christmas parade, tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s arrival will highlight Paulding Chamber of Commerce’s third annual “Merry & Bright Celebration” Tuesday, Nov. 28 in Paulding.

The tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. will be followed by the parade.

Floats and vehicles will glow with holiday lights and decorations. The parade will include equestrian units and other entries, concluding with St. Nick arriving by fire truck. He will be available to meet with children after the parade in Herb Monroe Community Park.

“The parade is almost double the size from last year,” said Brenda Crawford, chairman of the Merry and Bright Committee. “Last year, the parade was about 25 minutes.”

Line-up begins at 5:45 p.m. The parade will travel south on Main Street, past the park and then turn east on Jackson Street, ending at the Paulding County Senior Center.

Live music will be provided. Among those expected to perform are Paulding High School Band, Oakwood Community Band and the band G Men. An announcer from local station 102.7 will be broadcasting.

Refreshments will be offered at the park. Also, the senior center will have a food stand and Susie’s Bakery next to the park will be open during the evening. Other groups have tentative plans to participate.

Representatives from Christmas For Kids will be accepting donations of unwrapped toys and monetary donations. All donations stay in Paulding County.

Once again, lights will adorn trees and the gazebo on the courthouse lawn, as well as in the park. The light posts around the square have been decorated by county 4-H’ers with banners, lights, greenery and ribbons.

Last year saw the debut of the park’s centerpiece – a 20-foot tree covered with hundreds of multicolor lights built by Logan Gross of Ace Hardware and Brian Shuherk of Solid Ground. Look for something new added this year.

Also returning is the popular “face in the hole” photo board with a snowman scene, perfect for photo-ops with friends and family members.

Santa will be at the park after the parade, and plans to return for additional visits. He will be in his workshop at the park from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 2, and from 5-7 p.m. on Dec. 16, 17 and 20. Children also can place their letters in a mailbox at the park.

Chamber director Mikayla Pieper said it’s not too late to participate in the parade. Entries are still being accepted by calling the chamber office at 419-399-5215 or by visiting the chamber’s Merry and Bright Celebration page.

“The event has grown,” said Pieper. “There’s more interest every year.”

“We have a great committee. Everyone gets involved. Everyone works well together,” said Crawford.

Committee members include Brian Shuherk, Dave Burtch, Logan Gross, Tim Tracy, Clint Vance, Laron Hodgins, Sarah Noggle, Michael Schweinsberg, Ed Bohn, Tracy Lee and Dan and Deb Howell.

The chamber and committee invite everyone to join in for an exciting evening of music, lights and fun.