The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a damper on Hanford’s longstanding Christmas events last year, but according Hanford Chamber of Commerce CEO Amory Marple, Christmas wasn’t cancelled — just delayed until this year.

The City of Hanford is revving up for the Holiday Season with not only the Winter Wonderland skate rink at Civic Park, but also with the return of their annual Hanford Chamber Christmas Parade. Last year, the virus put a hamper on what is annually considered a local mainstay, relegating it to a drive-thru event with only 12 participants.

This year, it’s back on track and scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, as is tradition. Typically, this event can typically bring in about 70 floats from different businesses and churches in the Hanford and Kings County community. So far, the number of organizations to sign up have been about half that amount, but Marple says applications are still coming in and she's just happy to have this many people sign up.

"It’s not as high yet as it has been in the past and I think it still has to do with COVID, but we were hoping for anything more than the 12 that participated last year," Marple said. "So at least it’ll be a really good event either way.”

It’ll also be bolstered by the return of some longtime favorite participants like the Star Wars-themed float from DJ’s Collectible Shoppe and the Living Nativity Scene put on by Riverdale Assembly of God. Every year in the days leading up to Christmas, they do their drive-thru event with live animals and actors depicting the birth of Jesus. However, they also bring on Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Magi and some baby animals to take part in a parade as well. After missing it in 2020, Pastor Chuck Spencer said he and his team are thrilled to be back.

“We are super excited to be a part of the Hanford Christmas Parade,” Spencer said. “Honestly, it is one of the best in the Valley — it’s always greatly attended, great response from the crowd — and it’s right here close to us. We love it. Absolutely love being part of the Hanford parade.”

Marple added that the timing for the event couldn't be better. With the new skating rink up and running, as of this Saturday, and vendors out, Marple said there's a lot of hope that people will come in the evening for the floats and stick around to skate in the park.

Meanwhile, the parade is expected to bring plenty of people into Downtown Hanford's store and boutiques, generating business on Black Friday at the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The parade will start at 6 p.m. at 7th and Douty streets, then make its way towards Irvin Street coming up on 8th and back across Douty.

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