Strawberry Festival urges parade participants to celebrate Santa theme

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2017 at 11:28 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Dance Reflections in Albion won for “Best use of theme” in last year’s Strawberry Festival, which had a theme: Hook, Line & Strawberry, to promote the local fishing resources and to play on the strawberry theme of the festival.

ALBION – The Albion Strawberry Festival parade is less than a month away and festival organizers want parade participants to start thinking about their floats.

The parade this year has a Charles W. Howard theme, in honor of the man who founded a Santa Claus School in Albion. Parade participants are urged to incorporate Santa and Christmas decorations in their displays.

There will, however, only be one Santa Claus in the parade. He is expected to make a guest appearance with Mrs. Claus. Some members of Charles Howard’s family also are expected to be in the parade with his granddaughter serving as the parade grand marshal.

Parade participants are welcome to wear Santa hats, dress as elves or think of other ways to promote a Santa theme.

The festival has expanded its list of parade categories for awards. All of the winners will receive certificates.

The categories include:

• Best use of theme (Charles W. Howard and Santa Claus)

• Most original

• Best band

• Best cheer/dance

• Special recognition/community service

• Best public safety agency (fire department, police, ambulance)

• Best classic car

• Best wooden boat

• Best use of humor

Santa is expected to make an appearance in the Albion Strawberry Festival. He may opt for his casual wear because Santa doesn’t tend to wear his full Santa suit during the the off-season.

The Albion Merchants Association also will have a holiday window decorating contest during the 31st annual Strawberry Festival on June 9-10.

Charles Howard ran a Santa School in Albion from 1937 to 1966. Howard also served as the Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 18 years. He remains revered among people who portray Santa for establishing standards in how to act and dress as Santa.

The Albion Betterment Committee is working on raising money for a bronze statue and memorial in downtown Albion in honor of Howard. The group is hoping to celebrate Howard, and promote Albion’s history with Santa Claus.

The two-day Strawberry Festival has many activities, from a food court, craft vendors, a classic car show, turtle race, trout pond, 5k and 8k race, and family fun center. A chalk art festival also will be back.

For more information, check the festival’s website by clicking here.

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