Hampden: Mayor's Christmas parade coming, and so are Ms. Santa pub crawlers

November 18, 2011

Look around! Christmas has come to Hampden once again. As if it wouldn't. As if you could miss if it you wanted to.

But if I may speak frankly for just a moment (and really, would you be reading this column if I didn't speak frankly?), of all the great neighborhoods in our city, Hampden by far is the most Christmasey. Don't get me wrong, other neighborhoods display really nice holiday spirit, but no one can touch the holiday cheer that Hampden puts on display.

Aside from the Miracle on 34th Street, we also have the Mayor's Christmas Parade. This year, it's on Sunday, Dec. 4. It starts at 2 p.m., and will run from Cold Sping Lane up Falls Road to West 36th Street and east to Chestnut Avenue before finishing on West 37th Street. Organizers say last year's parade brought out 25,000 people, and this year's festivities look to be even bigger.

Participants include local TV and radio personalities (which is always my favorite part – there's a certain TV newswoman I always make a point of waving to), an array of floats, more than 100 Harley Davidsons (it's not really Christmas until you see a Santa on a Harley), a steam calliope, bands, balloons, Mummers, Miss Yuletide Kasidee Rae Leybold and Junior Miss Yuletide Savanna Fisher. Oh, and of course Santa.

I'm also hoping the Star Wars marchers return. Each year their numbers grow significantly, and it's almost at a point now where they could re-enact the original Star Wars trilogy.

The night before the parade, the 4th Annual Ms. Santa Pub Crawl will come to Hampden for the first time (the Ms. Santas having crawled through other neighborhoods previously). It starts at 3 p.m., with caroling at Ma Petite Shoe, 832 W. 36th St., and then hops among local pubs and businesses. You're invited to join the ladies in costume and get special discounts at area businesses. For more information about where they're going and when, visit hampenmerchants.com.

Hampden merchants are also, for the first time, participating in a storefront decorating contest sponsored by the Hampden Village Merchants Association. Winners will be announced on First Friday, Dec. 2. So come on out and take a look at what they came up with.

First Friday is a day on the first Friday of each month when participating merchants stay open later with special events, discounts, sales and refreshments.Many businesses are getting together to make every Friday in December a First Friday up through Christmas.. More information about this can be found at hampdenmerchants.com.

And stay tuned in my next column for more information about even more holiday events and when you can find Santa on the Avenue.

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