Traditional December schedule

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County Tourism officials have decided to return the Smithfield Christmas parade to the traditional second Saturday in December.

The parade will again be paired with the annual Kiwanis Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 9.

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The Christmas Evening Market will be held the night before the parade, Dec. 8, from 6-9 p.m.

The return to the traditional schedule for the parade comes after two years of shifting December holiday events and schedules that, at times, had resulted in traffic snarls and general confusion. 

Tourism has applied for those dates through the Smithfield Special Events Committee, according to Judy Winslow, director of tourism for Isle of Wight County.

Once approved by the committee, the schedule goes to the Smithfield Town Council for final approval.  {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The only change is that the parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. rather than the traditional 11 a.m., according to Winslow.

Tourism Events Coordinator Terry Rhinier said parade attendance was about the same as in previous years and that judging will remain on Grace Street, rather than Main Street to help with gaps between floats and performers. 

Last year, the parade date was moved to accommodate the Christmas Market, leaving the Kiwanis Breakfast with Santa as a stand-alone event. The parade and breakfast had traditionally been held on the same day.

At the same time, Isle of Wight Christian Outreach was told last fall that it could have its traditional Saturday back for Souper Saturday.

For more than 20 years Souper Saturday had scheduled its fundraiser for the second Saturday in October. Soon, it was paired with the annual Hog Jog, and then it evolved into Town and Country Day.

It was the addition of the Vintage Market last year — and its crowds and traffic — that caused Christian Outreach to change its date — resulting in a significant drop in revenues.  

In April, the county plans to hold a Trash and Treasure Day at the Isle of Wight County fairgrounds on April 22-23. The fall Vintage Market will continue to be held downtown, but in November rather than October.  {/mprestriction}