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53rd Festival of Lights Christmas Parade rules and regulations

As registration continues for the Annual Festival of Lights Christmas Parade, parade officials are releasing rules, regulations, and important information regarding the parade. 

The primary mission of the Annual Festival of Lights Parade is to provide a safe, enjoyable, and quality family environment, in and on the streets of Douglas.  In order to do so, the following rules and regulations are asked to be followed. 

All entries (no exception) must have an entry card on file at the Visitor Information Center (Ashley-Slater House) Offices on or before noon on Friday, December 2, 2016.  Entry fees should be paid to the City of Douglas. 

Fees are as follows:  Commercial $25.00, Non-Commercial $10.00.  Please note that all vehicles/units bearing acommercial name or message are considered a commercial entry.  Decals will be given out as you register. Please post this decal on the passenger (right) side window of the vehicle or on the right hand side of your banner on parade night.  Parade entries will not be allowed to advance in the parade if decal is not displayed. A decal will only be given for those who have registered and paid their entry fees by December 2, 2016.   A description or history of the entry, in about twenty-five words, must be submitted.  This should be included with the entry card at registration. 

No refunds will be issued for cancellations by weather or parade organizers. Participants are responsible for obtaining spaces for decorating and building the floats.  Beauty queens and other entrants are responsible for obtaining their own vehicles.  Work on all entries should be complete at the time of line-up.  No materials will be available for last minute repairs and additions.   Floats shall be constructed and decorated so that viewing from either side is equally appealing to the eye.

When working with floats, please dispose of materials properly to prevent litter.  Dumpsters will be located in the parking lot of Coffee Alternative Education Center for disposal of litter.    All units MUST identify themselves so parade viewers, judges, television coverage cameras, and program announcers can easily read the name of the unit or sponsor at a distance of 100 feet. The name of the business or organization MUST be displayed in front of each entry, and the theme and other information should be along the side on all entries.  

Floats must not exceed 20 feet in width and must not be taller than 15 feet (overall height –traffic clearance).  Floats with parts that are more than the 15-foot requirement must be lowered in a quick and efficient manner when approaching overhead traffic lights and other obstructions.  Maximum float length is 55 feet.  Traffic light clearance is 15.5 feet.  Tires may not rub any part of the frame or float decoration when making turns.  

To maintain the overall effect of the nighttime parade, ALL entries must be thoroughly decorated with lights and follow the “Peace On Earth” theme.  Entries will not be accepted without lighting.  Clowns, bands, dignitaries, pageant winners, marching units, drill teams, and colorful performing groups are excluded from this rule.  Wire and lighting devices must have sufficient capability for the use intended for them on the float.  Wiring should be properly secured to the float to avoid mechanical damage and injury to float riders and other participants. 

Portable generators used in conjunction with float lighting must be securely mounted on a vehicle or other substantial base.  A minimum of 12 inches clearance must separate any part of the generator from light, combustible fabrication or decorating materials.  At least one five-pound dry chemical or 10-pound carbon dioxide fire extinguisher should be placed within easy reach of the float driver.  There should be at least one fire extinguisher near each generator.  Please check with the Douglas Fire Department for a listing of fire extinguisher providers.

Horses will be allowed in the parade this year providing all information is complete and entry fee has been paid.  Entries must register to participate in the parade and sign a Hold Harmless form. All horses must be healthy; horses who appear to be sick will be pulled from the lineup.  Riders must be able to control the horse in the event it becomes spooked by the crowd, lights, sounds, and other ambiances of the parade. Owner and rider will be liable for any costs that may be from personal injury or personal property damage of themselves and spectators, business owners, or participants of the parade.

Spacing must be maintained between horses. Saddles and bridles are required for all riders. Tack shall be in good condition so that riders can maintain control of their horse. Riders should not move out of line formation for other than emergency conditions. Riders are not to dismount or tie unattended horses along the parade route. Horse riding groups and vehicles being pulled by mules/horses are required to provide, at least one (1) person at the rear of the riding group with a barrel type container to pick up all droppings or for individual riders, horses must have a “manure bag” for sanitation purposes.

All veterinarian vaccinations as well as a negative Coggins Test is required of all horse entries. A horse who does not like crowds, lights, or loud noises should not be entered in the parade.

The parade will begin at the First Methodist Church and continue south on Peterson Avenue.  It will disband at the Coffee Alternative Education Center parking lot. Units may begin lining up at 4 p.m. in the WEST (right-hand) lane of Peterson Avenue in front of the First Methodist Church at the corner of North Peterson Avenue and Jackson Street.  Units will be placed in line by parade officials. 

The parade will move at a walking pace at all times.

SAFETY IS PRIORITY!  All drivers must be licensed and adequately trained to drive their float.  The driver should have perfect visibility of the road ahead.  Once the float is in position in the line-up area, the driver must be in attendance at all times and available to move the unit as necessary.    No children under the age of seven can ride on a float in the parade without direct supervision of an adult on the float.  NO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF TWELVE ARE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE WITHIN THE PARADE “LINE OF MARCH” WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION.  After the parade, it is the responsibility of the parents with children participating in the parade to make necessary arrangements to have children met and picked up at a designated location. 

Anyone driving or riding on GO-CARTS, 4-WHEELERS, MOTOR BIKES, ETC., MUST be under the supervision of a responsible adult. Policemen and parade workers will monitor riding status during the parade.  Out of concern for safety, riders may be pulled from the parade route if the proper safety measures are not considered by the riders.  HELMETS ARE REQUIRED!

During the parade, individuals and organizations are expected to perform courteously, in good taste, and with safety in mind at all times.  If music is a part of a float or group, please use Christmas themed music – no profanity or vulgarity should be in the song/music.  No provocative dancing will be allowed.  No motorcycle or car “burn-outs” allowed. 

Parade participants are asked to refrain from signs with profanity or vulgar language. 

As a safety precaution, NO CANDY THROWING is allowed during the parade.    No smoking or alcoholic beverages of any kind will be allowed in or on the float or tow vehicle.  The consumption of any alcoholic beverage is strictly prohibited and violators will be prosecuted.

No advertisements are allowed for alcohol or tobacco usage.  Float builders are encouraged to use costumed characters on floats.  However, no Santa Claus will be allowed.  Santa is featured at the end of the parade by the event sponsors.

Parade workers have the authority to seek the removal of any person or units from the parade, when, in their judgment, parade guidelines are being violated.

“As always, remember, we cannot control the weather.  If weather conditions are considered extreme and unsafe by the parade coordinators, the parade may be canceled and rescheduled for the following weekend,” says Georgia Henderson, Public Information Department Director and Parade Organizer. 

The parade theme is “Peace on Earth.” On Saturday, December 3, festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the parade will make its way from the courthouse to the Coffee Alternative Education Center. Registration forms and rules can be picked up at the Public Information office located at 211 S. Gaskin Avenue.

For more information about the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade, please call (912) 383-0277, visit our website at www.cityofdouglas.com/parade, or email info @ cityofdouglas.com.

- Submitted by the City of Douglas

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