Screen Shot 2018 10 30 at 3.42.54 PM While Hope Mills residents may still be debating what costumes to wear for Halloween, it’s already time to start entertaining thoughts about the town’s annual Christmas parade.

This year’s event, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Dec. 1, has an application process that’s already begun. The deadline for receiving applications from any organization or business interested in being a part of the parade is Nov. 19.

Forms can be picked up at the recreation department’s temporary headquarters in Hope Mills Town Hall or downloaded at www.townofhopemills.com.

Applications have to be turned in just under two weeks before the parade is held to allow time to review each one and to set the parade lineup and deal with all the logistics involved, said Kasey Ivey, head of senior programs for the town of Hope Mills.

Ivey said there have been some minor changes in the rules for this year’s parade.

Previously, stopping during the parade was prohibited to avoid creating gaps in the parade lineup. A new policy has been added that allows individual units to stop if they feel the need to for an unspecified safety reason.

Spectators are encouraged to arrive early where possible so they can find parking along the parade route and to get to adequate seating for themselves and everyone in their party.

Another parade rule still in place is that no one will be allowed to throw candy into the crowd from any float or other unit in the parade.

Ivey said this is to prevent the possibility of children running into the path of parade units to retrieve candy.

Businesses or organizations that have candy or material they’d like to distribute during the parade will be allowed to have people on foot handing it out as they pass by the crowd on the street.

A precaution for floats requires them to have a safety hold or side railings for all riders on the float. Also, Ivey said anyone driving a vehicle that is in the parade or pulling a float must be 18 years of age.

Even though Election Day will have passed, political campaigning along the parade route is not permitted.

Everyone is reminded that Santa-themed entries are not permitted because, according to the application form, “the real Santa Claus has agreed to participate.’’

Lineup for the parade begins at 1 p.m., judging of floats at 2:15 p.m. and roll call at 2:30 p.m.

Contact Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com or Maxey Dove at 910-426-4108 with specific questions about parade entries. Questions can also be answered via the recreation department’s Facebook page, Hope Mills Parks and Recreation.

If anyone needs to get answers face-to-face, the parks and recreation offices remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Florence. Ivey said they have relocated to temporary headquarters in Town Hall on Rockfish Road. Visit the front reception desk at Town Hall during normal business hours.

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