Kickoff the holiday season at Middletown’s annual Santa Parade

Thousands of people are expected Saturday in downtown Middletown for the city’s annual Home for the Holidays Santa Parade.

And organizers said they hope many of those in attendance will stop by the growing number of new businesses as well as eat at several new restaurants in the area.

This year’s parade starts at 4 p.m. and is being held in conjunction with Small Businesses Saturday, a national event where holiday shoppers are encouraged to support small neighborhood businesses.

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“This year we’re doing a book theme and most of the characters will be from books and movies,” said Linda Moorman, the long-time organizer for the annual parade. “A float is being built to encourage reading.”

There will be costumed book and movie characters in this year’s parade, including 20 new characters like Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Charlie Brown and Snoopy as well as a number of familiar faces from Sesame Street and Disney movies.

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The parade will also feature horses, floats, color guards, antique cars, a fire truck, the MidPointe Library System’s bookmobile and more. There will also be four dance groups performing in the parade that takes place along Broad Street between Second and Manchester avenues.

At the conclusion of the parade, Santa Claus will be at Governors Square until 6 p.m. to meet with children to hear what they’d like for Christmas and to get pictures with himself and Mrs. Claus.

Moorman, who has been organizing the parade for the past 11 years, said this year’s community sponsor is the Middletown Community Foundation. Other sponsors include My Favorite Things Boutique, Light Up Middletown, BeauVerre Riordan Studios, Art Avenue Custom Framing, Legacy Fineart, Murphy’s Landing and The Canal Pub.

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WHAT: Home for the Holidays Santa Parade

WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Along Broad Street between Second and Manchester avenues

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