Jennifer Clarke – For The Record

BJ Hanneman, member of the Bridge City Chamber, is looking forward to her second year working on the Bridge City Christmas Parade, “It is a lot of fun getting to see and meet everyone,” she says.  The night parade has been a Bridge City tradition for seven years, but even prior to that, the parade took place during the day. “The parade used to travel down Texas Avenue, the entire street would be closed off,” notes Hanneman.

The parade has become an important part of the community because it is “a good way for families to get into the Christmas spirit at the beginning of the season,” suggests BJ Hanneman. The event is free and family friendly and incorporates many of the members of the community. The Bridge City Strutters, High School Band, local first responders including the volunteer fire department, police department, and Constable Mark Philpott all participate. The Bridge City City Council as well as many local businesses usually have a float. And an organization, Jeepers4Jesus, is involved throughout the parade along with Scot. C. Schaffer.

All participants provide an entry fee of a toy donation to the Ministerial Alliance. According to Hanneman, “last year the Ministerial Alliance helped over 700 families.” It is a concerted effort on behalf of all who participate with the help of Bridge City ISD, George Navarro, and First Baptist Church to organize and stage the parade. Granger Chevrolet and Sabine River Ford provide trucks to pick up all the donated toys at the staging areas.

“The event is free for families to attend,” says Hanneman. And participants are able to enter the parade through the donation of a toy. In order to enter the parade, Hanneman advises that anyone interested simply visit bridgecitychamber.com and download the application.

The parade is December 5, 2015 and begins at First Baptist Church on Roundbunch traveling to the elementary and ending at the Intermediate school. Judges will be provided for four categories including Vehicle, Dance, Ambulatory, and Float with several awards available in each category. All groups will pause to perform in front of the judges.  The narrator of this year’s parade is Michael Hanneman. This year’s Parade Marshall is Mayor Kirk Roccaforte.

Directly after the parade this year, Bridge City Bank will be showing an outdoor movie. It is also free and open to the public.

BJ Hanneman suggests these are great opportunities to “get in the spirit of the season.”