By Devese “Dee” Ursery
COLLINSVILLE — The Christmas Season is here and that means one thing for the City of Collinsville, having Christmas at the Collins House and marching in the Christmas Light-Up Parade.
Collinsville hosted its sixth annual Christmas at Collins House and the Light-Up Christmas Parade which began at 5:30-8 p.m. on Dec. 2, in Uptown Collinsville. The Light Up Parade route took Christmas Story themed floats through Uptown Collinsville with festivities ending at the historical D.D. Collins House.
According to Kimberly Caughran, parks and recreations director the parade started at the Collins House, traveled east on Main Street, turned north on Center Street, and finished again at the Collins House after traveling west on Clay Street.
“Festivities include a tree lighting ceremony, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, bonfires, s’mores and various family friendly activities,” Caughran said. Parade Contest Winners were announced and awarded during this time.
Caughran said the Light Up Parade was an idea of City Clerk Kim Wasser. She established the event in 2017, two years prior to the Parks and Recreations Department being formed and they took over organizing the event. “She is still involved in its planning and execution,” Caughran continued.
“The parade is one of the first holiday events in the City and it helps to kick off the holiday season,” Caughran said. “It also highlights the beautifully decorated Uptown area as well as the community involvement from Collinsville with all the floats.”
Upon conclusion of the parade, Mayor Stehman addressed the public at the Collins House. His address included the winners of the float contest and window decorations. He also did the countdown to the lighting of the newly planted tree, Caughran acknowledged.
Uptown Collinsville businesses decorated their windows in the holiday spirit and competed for bragging rights. Several businesses offered food and drink specials. After the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus were at the Collins House for free pictures and to listen to children’s Christmas wishes. Visitors also roasted s’mores and had free hot chocolate at the Collins House that was donated by Walmart.
Hartsoe’s Hair Design took first place in window decorating followed by Antiques and Accents by Vandana, in second place and Viviano Heating and Air Conditioning in third place. Miles Market on Main was an honorable mention. The Window display Contest was judged by the people of the community. Winners of the best float were: Mission Possible, who took home a first place finish. The Collinsville Street Department garnered second place, while the Lilypad Learning Center received third place finish.
The City estimates an attendance of about 5,000 who showed up at the parade and 500 at the Collins House after the parade, according to Caughran.