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East Peoria Times-Courier - East Peoria, IL
  • Annual Santa Claus parade, special shopping deals this weekend

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  • This weekend features a busy itinerary to kick off the Christmas season in Chillicothe.
    Beginning on Friday and continuing Saturday, local businesses offer special deals in conjunction with Small Business Weekend.
    The national effort of Small Business Saturday, which falls the day after Black Friday, seems to be too late for Chillicothe businesses to capitalize on shoppers, Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce Facilitator Patty Pierson said.
    “We decided to give the opportunity to the small businesses here that sell items or food,” Pierson said.
    “We want to take advantage because this is the time we have the most people available to shop,” she said about Chillicothe’s annual Santa Claus parade, which is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
    Twenty-two businesses are offering special discounts or deals over the two days, and some are registering customers for a drawing.
    The two empty storefronts in the downtown will be filled by two businesses on Saturday only.
    Fliers on all the deals are available around town now, and can be found on the chamber’s Facebook page.
    Also included on the flier is the agenda for Saturday’s holiday events.
    At 2 p.m., the 63rd annual Santa Claus parade will hit the downtown streets with the theme of “Rockin’ Musical Christmas.”
    Santa Claus traditionally makes his appearance at the end of the parade, and usually finds an interesting mode of transportation.
    Pierson said she thinks this year’s parade may run longer than last year’s 45 minutes.
    Mayor Troy Childers Sr. will lead the parade as the marshal in an antique carriage. Antique carriage rides will be available after the parade until 5 p.m. They are sponsored by Lingenfelter Insurance and Galena Road Gravel.
    The lighting of the Christmas tree in City Park will be at 3 p.m., as well as the announcement of the children’s coloring contest winners and the drawing for $50 in Chilli Bucks. The resident must be present to win. Registrations, which are on the flier, must be dropped off at the chamber or at City Hall prior to Saturday.
    Santa Claus will be in City Park until 4 p.m. so children can tell him what they want for Christmas. Tim & Shelly’s 2nd Street Bar & Grill is providing the candy.
    At 3:30 p.m., a free movie is offered in the smaller auditorium at Town Theatre. The movie, “Wreck-it Ralph,” is sponsored by Latta Realty and Meadowview Lawn Care doing business as Spring Green.
    Also in front of Town Theatre around 1 p.m. and throughout the parade, the JOOI club will help sell candy, popcorn, drinks and gift certificates for the theatre, which is owned by the Chillicothe Optimist Club. Gift baskets also may be available.
    Page 2 of 2 - The high school students also will collect toy or monetary donations for Operation Christmas Child, which goes to children overseas. Their goal is to send 100 boxes.
    Paper goods — toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, napkins and more — also will be gathered for Community Needs Agency that day.
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