The Norco Civic Association Christmas Parade has been dormant for the past two years, but that changes in 2022.
Recently, the association announced on Facebook that the parade would indeed return to action this year, the date set for Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. The theme will be “Norco Honors Our First Responders,” which was to be the theme of the 2021 event before Hurricane Ida relegated the parade to the sideline for the second straight year. In 2020, the Christmas parade was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Stephen Weber, chairman of the Norco Civic Association Holiday Committee, said there’s a lot of energy around the event’s planning this year.
“I’m excited. I think the community’s going to be really excited,” Weber said. “This will be the first parade we’ll have with the new town square, and with those murals up. We last did this in 2019 … I think people are ready to get out and enjoy the parade again.”
Weber was alluding to the Civic Association-established town square that is expected to be completed, including a veterans’ memorial, near the former Capital One building on Apple Street near River Road. That’s not the only bit of ‘new’ to be out on the route, if parade planners have their way – Weber said the hope is to be able to add more antique or classic cars, floats and costumed walkers to the parade itself.
“We started getting the word out that we need those specifically, and we wanted to get that out there early,” Weber said. “Those are things we’ve had a tough time getting for the parade, and we haven’t had enough of those in the parades … I see these parades with the costumed walkers, and it adds a lot. One time, we had Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, a dad and his son … we’ve had the Star Wars 501st Legion each year, and that’s been great. It doesn’t have to be Christmas themed.”
Dec. 4 will of course mark the first time the Christmas parade has rolled in Norco for 3 years, given the two holiday seasons out of action. It was a longer wait than expected, and pre-Ida, the plan and expectation was for its return to happen last year. There was talk even post-Ida of having the 2021 edition become reality.
“We were torn on that,” Weber said. “On one hand, it can be a good thing to have it, because hey, we can maybe bring some spirit back. On the other hand, we had so much debris … even still in December, even now for that matter, people are dealing with the aftermath. I was kind of split on it myself. In the end we held off, but we’re so excited to have it back again.”
On Aug. 22, the Christmas parade committee held their first official meeting of the year at the Norco Civic Association Hall in Norco.
As always, the parade is set to take place on the heels of Thanksgiving Day, an unofficial kickoff for the Christmas season.
Local schools are represented through their marching bands, dance teams and cheerleading squads. Festive floats command attention, as do Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, who take some time out of their busy schedule to make a grand entrance and take photos with children.
The two-season absence is not the first hiatus the Norco parade has endured before bouncing back. It was discontinued after an approximate 30-year run from the 1950s to the 1980s. In 2001, a group of residents, including Weber, revived the event, which prior to 2020 had run in all but two years, the exceptions due to weather. Past themes have touched on traditions, paid homage to popular music and movies, honored veterans and highlighted major events like elections and the Super Bowl in the community’s unique way.
The last parade’s theme was Norco Through the Years, with participants representing a decade of their choice.
Anyone interested in joining the parade or helping with the planning may contact Weber at email@example.com or call 504-202-5565.