Come one, come all - the best parade of the year steps off tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Third Street in downtown Jamestown.
Yes, it is the annual Christmas parade sponsored by The Resource Center and its TRC Foundation along with the Downtown Jamestown Development Corp.
No, this is not like any other parade you will ever see. There will be upwards of 90 units in the parade if you count Santa Claus - and who wouldn't. But as far as we can tell, there is only one band, although a really good one - the Jamestown Red Raiders High School Marching Band. So do not come expecting a lot of drum and bugle corps competing for one of the 13 trophies to be awarded this year.
Rather, you will experience perhaps the most remarkable demonstration of the Christmas spirit that is available in these parts. Business and organizations across the area have spent this week preparing their entries in the parade- semi trucks and delivery vans decked out with Christmas lights as well as full-blown floats designed along this year's theme: A Tradition of Caring at Christmas. The non-profits are also well represented, and so you will see the entries from R. Patti Concrete & Excavating and the Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union alongside St. James Italian Heritage Dance Group and Jamestown YMCA Jets Swim Team. In all, the parade will last about two hours.
Don't be quick to leave when it is over. A fireworks display near City Hall will wrap up the evening's activities.
If you are coming into town, heed the advisory that Third Street will be closed starting at 3 p.m. from Jefferson to Hallock and then all the way from Prendergast to Hallock at 5. You will be able to travel into town on Second and Fourth streets.
And remember: it is winter. Dress appropriately and be sure your children are wearing warm socks and, yes, boots as insulation against the cold concrete of the sidewalks.