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By Brittni Henderson
Smithfield’s All-Lit-Up Christmas parade will be back for its third year on Saturday, December 1 at 4pm—snow or shine! The parade will begin at Smithfield High School; continue down Pleasant View Avenue, heading towards Deerfield Drive. The numerous floats and displays make their way up Lisa Ann Drive, towards Lucille Drive, and eventually onto Austin Avenue. At the parade’s commencement, the Christmas tree on the Village Green to the sound of holiday music ringing through the air.
The parade’s third procession is possible due to the hard work of volunteer committee members, including co-chairs Representative Thomas Winfield, Kate McAdam-Prickett from the Smithfield Senior Center. Members from numerous town organizations and agencies are also involved including Chief Bob Seltzer, SFD, Captain Ken Brown, SPD, Dorothy Swain, Greenville Library, Ann Marie Donahue, Smithfield Times, Karen Armstrong, Smithfield Sr. Center, Charlie Walsh, Smithfield Public Works, Bob Caine, Smithfield Parks & Recreation and SHS Principal Dan Kelly.
Last year’s parade had over 36 participants and twice as many spectators as the previous year. It was also the first year for the children’s essay contest. The winner of the “What Christmas Means to Me” is crowned “The Illuminator” of the parade and is assigned a special vehicle to ride upon for the day. The winning child also has the great honor of illuminating the Christmas tree. The committee also decides who will be named Grand Marshal each year. This year, Elizabeth Russillo, Smithfield’s Teacher of the Year was presented the Grand Marshal award during class on November 1 by the parade committee.
As the popularity of the parade grew over the past few years, committee members decided to plan other special events in town like Family Fun Day at Deerfield Park in April. According to the committee, despite it being slightly chilly outside, there was a great crowd of about 500 people. Thanks to volunteers and donations, free pizza, water, fruit, and other snacks were available. There were also face painters, pony rides, and entertainment for everyone in the family.
Town Manager Randy Rossi worked with the committee for the Food Truck Event held in August. This event was so popular that some trucks ran out of food! Smithfield Police and Fire Departments paid extra attention to safety details to avoid any problems. According to the committee, it was truly memorable day.
Finally, there are numerous raffles that are major assets to not only the parade, but other town events as well. The biggest and most namely is the Snowball Drop Raffle, which was held on November 17, 2018. This involved selling 500 numbered raffle tickets for coinciding golf balls. The golf balls were then dropped from a ladder on a Smithfield Fire Truck in Deerfield Park. The winners were announced on Facebook.
Hopefully families from the community will return again to enjoy the festivities on December 1, it will sure to be a great time for all! Merry Christmas!