Parade of Lights to cap off Shop Small Saturday

Jamie Hult, Staff writer
Customers browse the merchandise and discounts during Shop Small Saturday last year. Jill Meier/File photo

Seventeen local businesses are busily filling swag bags, slashing prices and loading up trays of holiday sweets for Brandon’s biggest shopping day of the year, Shop Small Saturday, this weekend.
Then, folks can cap off the day of Santa visits and Christmas savings with Brandon’s Parade of Lights.
After a three-year hiatus, the illuminated march down Holly Boulevard and Main Avenue is back thanks to VFW Post 4726. 
Chaplain Tom Sharpee was disappointed when the parade wasn’t planned last holiday season, so he proposed that the post organize it this year. “Why not?” the board said. 
“It brings the community together and also shows the community that we’re involved,” said Commander Rick Vanden Hoek. “And for us to support veterans, we need that community involvement.”
The procession kicks off at 6 p.m. at Brandon Valley High School. There is no registration to participate, though spectators can count on spotting at least one familiar face at the front of the parade. 
Santa Claus will hitch a ride with the VFW from the high school parking lot and hop off at the Post home to meet youngsters and hear their Christmas wish lists.
The jolly old elf is in high demand Saturday. Families can also catch him at Oak Ridge Nursery (10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1-3 p.m.) and First National Bank (10 to 11:30 a.m.) 
The Shop Small deals and activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with many of residents’ favorite local retailers, plus three new ones – The Paisley Pod, South Dakota Threads and Dakota Kid Creations (Tally Ho Art Gallery). 
“I think it could be as big as Black Friday in Brandon,” said Rachel Polan, the Chamber’s communications coordinator. 
Polan and Kim Cerwick, Chamber CEO, recommend shoppers plan their Shop Small itinerary by tackling the shops with grab bags for the first so many customers. 
“Then make sure to visit the rest,” Cerwick said.
Shoppers who get five punches on their Chamber-issued postcard from participating businesses will be entered into a gift card giveaway.   
Shop Small postcards were mailed to all households with a Brandon address. Additional cards are available at the Chamber office. 
Parade of Lights participants are asked to line up at 5:30 p.m. in the BVHS parking lot. 
“It’s trying to get people to put as many lights as they can on a float and drive it down the street,” Sharpee summed up. “I hope we get a good turnout.”
The route goes west on Holly Boulevard, then south on Main Avenue to the VFW. While candy won’t be dispersed during the parade, the community is welcome to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate at the VFW following the parade. Santa Claus will also be on hand at the VFW for photos and to hear Christmas wish lists from kids, young and old.
If the parade is canceled due to a high windchill, families can find Santa at VFW at 6 p.m.


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