Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Float Fun: Harrisburg’s holiday parade returns with balloons, bands, Santa

A past holiday parade in Harrisburg

With Thanksgiving just a week away and the Christmas countdown on, Harrisburg is ready to get you in the holiday spirit.

The city’s 2021 holiday parade will be held this Saturday downtown, featuring all the traditional staples, including marching bands, balloons and floats.

“We are very excited about this year’s parade,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse. “The parade route spans 1.5 miles, allowing ample space to socially distance and safely kick off the holiday season.”

Last year, the holiday parade was modified to be a drive-through event due to the pandemic. This year, the traditional parade will return with the theme “Merry and Bright.”

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Market Street and travel down N. 2nd Street. It will then turn on North Street and again onto N. Front Street. The parade will then make its way to City Island.

Road closures of the Market Street Bridge, N. Front Street and 2nd street from Market to Forster streets will begin at 7 a.m. and end at about 2 p.m.

The marching band from Harrisburg High School, as well as other area schools will perform, along with local dance and step teams.

Large balloons will be part of the parade and feature Daniel Tiger, Buddy the Dinosaur, a nutcracker and Rudolph.

And what’s a holiday parade without Santa? Following the parade, families can visit St. Nick in Strawberry Square and enjoy free cookies and hot chocolate.

At 12:30 p.m., awards will be given to the top dance, step and drill teams, as well as the marching bands. Parade participants can also enter to win the “Best in Theme” contest.

A free COVID-19 vaccine clinic, provided by East Shore Pharmacy, will administer shots from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on parade day. The clinic will be located next to the stage at 10 N. 2nd Street. The primary and booster series for Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna will be offered. Pediatric vaccines will not be available.

In addition, local coffee shops will offer specialty drinks and discounts including Denim Coffee, Good Brothas Book Café and Little Amps.

Local nonprofit All you Can Inc. will serve a free community Thanksgiving dinner from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the bus station at N. 2nd and Market streets.

The Market Square Garage will offer a $10 special event rate from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., courtesy of Park Harrisburg. Parade attendees can use the ParkMobile App to get up to four hours of free street parking in downtown Harrisburg using the code “LUVHBG.”

Sponsors for the Holiday parade include Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, Explore HBG, T-Mobile, Cargill, Capital BlueCross, UPMC, Belco Community Credit Union, Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District, JP Lilley, Aetna, Fox Pest Control, Staybridge Suites, CBS21 and Park Harrisburg.

For a 2021 Holiday Parade route map and more information, visit their website.

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