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Glows parade celebrates tradition

FAIRMONT — We are only 10 days away from the annual Fairmont Glows parade, marking the 30th year for the gaily illuminated procession to herald the approach of the holiday season.

Festivities kick off about 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Fairmont Municipal Airport. The jolly old elf will be ready to accept your holiday wish lists and pose for photos with his many fans.

Then the action moves to Downtown Plaza where the parade begins at 6 p.m. The route will run from Ward Park through Downtown Plaza to Lincoln Park. This year’s grand marshal is Moni Harper, recipient of the 2019 Fairmont Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds Awards.

“This is the second year that the Book of Golden Deeds Award winner will be the Glows grand marshal, and we’re hoping to make that a tradition,” said Kandi Menne, office manager of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce, which coordinates the annual Glows parade and activities.

Last year, the parade featured 60 entries, and Menne predicts this year will surpass that number. She will be working on the parade lineup this week, but late entries can still be included. A $50 prize will be awarded to the winner in each of three categories: commercial, non-commercial and glowing.

“The Glows parade is a tried and true tradition,” she said. “Through our social media outreach, we drew a lot of first-timers to watch the parade last year. When they came, they didn’t know Santa was flying in so that was a fun surprise.”

“Hopefully, they will all come back, and we’ll have even more first-timers this year,” said Ned Koppen, president of the Fairmont Chamber.

The parade will be held, regardless of weather conditions. Menne recalled that a couple of years ago, inclement weather closed the roads, but only two entries did not show up for the parade.

“Everybody else showed up, and the streets were lined with people,” she said.

People attending the Glows festivities will be first in line to participate in a new Chamber promotion to support local businesses.

“We plan to kick off our Fairmont First/Shop Local campaign in conjunction with the Glows parade,” Koppen said. “We will be selling Fairmont First buttons. When you buy a Fairmont First button, you are eligible for a drawing of $250, $100 or $50 prizes in Chamber Bucks.”

Buttons the night of the parade will sell for $5. The following day through Dec. 9, the buttons will sell for $7. Winners will be drawn the week of Dec. 9.

Immanuel Lutheran Church will be serving chili and oyster stew from 5-8 p.m. at 1200 N. North Avenue. Local students and their friends can participate in a youth fun night with pizza, hot chocolate, games and music until 9 p.m. at the Martin County Youth for Christ Lighthouse at 213 Downtown Plaza. For the adults, Lance Allen will be sharing his musical talents at the Blazer Bar and Grill.

For more information on Glows activities, call the Fairmont Chamber office at (507) 235-5547.

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