Rain or shine, the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Annual Christmas Parade will be happening on Monday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m., Chamber Director Beckie Moore confirmed Tuesday morning.

Rain or shine, the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Annual Christmas Parade will be happening on Monday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m., Chamber Director Beckie Moore confirmed Tuesday morning.
The early extended weather forecast for Monday afternoon in Hope calls for unseasonably high temperatures around 70 degrees, but also a 40-percent chance of rain by mid-afternoon.
Moore said, “We will been having the parade as planned; this time of year, it is also challenging to try to reschedule around all the other events going on. I would tell everyone to bring an umbrella, just in case.”
“And that morning, I am going to do a rain dance in the hopes that it will not rain,” she joked.
As she will be watching the weather over the upcoming weekend, Moore said she is excited about this year’s parade, themed as Winter Wonderland Christmas, due to some new features this year.
While the traditional awards will be given out for three float categories, including Best use of Theme, Best Use of Lights and Best of Show, there will also be 1st and 2nd place awards given to marching bands, according to Moore.
“We will have Hope High School, but we were also pleased to get bands from Prescott and Texarkana here with us this year,” she said.
Also in connection to this year’s parade, Moore said there will be a food drive for Hope in Action.
“We are encouraging spectators to bring both umbrellas and canned goods with them. We will have ‘Super Strollers’ with shopping carts from Super 1, and they will be collecting canned food items for Hope in Action,” Moore said.
Moore also announced Tuesday that Santa Claus will be making an appearance in the parade, and after the parade, Santa will be at Tailgaters in a special “Wish Center” to greet kids and take photographs.
Reading a prepared statement Tuesday that Santa sent to the Chamber office, Moore said “Santa contacted the chamber today and asked everyone to line the parade route to celebrate his arrival in the community.”
According to Moore, Santa also stated “I always look forward to the Hope Christmas Parade.  This year is extra special because we will be able to collect canned goods for Hope in Action!  I am also looking forward to seeing all of the children.”
Moore said, “Santa’s arrival in the parade will be streamed live on the Internet thanks to Jeff Madlock and a crew of Hope High School students, and that is new and exciting. There will be two announcer booths located along the parade route.”
She added “It is not too late to join the parade lineup.  Please call the chamber office at 870-777-3640 if you would like to enter a float, antique car, marching band, or walking group. The deadline to call is tomorrow (Thursday) by 3 p.m.”
The Parade Route will start on Main Street (Brazzell-Oakcrest at 1001 S Main) towards downtown, right on Division and right on Walnut. Parade will disband on the First Baptist Church parking lot, Moore said.
Sponsors for this year's parade are Presenting Sponsor/McDonald's, BancorpSouth, Montgomery Law Firm, City of Hope, & Hope Downtown Network.