By GWEN SISSON
They are doing things a little different at the Sturgis Christmas parade this year.
Instead of collecting entry fees, parade organizers are collecting canned food items to go to the Palmer Childrenâ€™s Home in Columbus.
â€śSharing a Small Town Christmasâ€ť is the theme for this yearâ€™s event, set for noon today in downtown Sturgis.
Parade organizers are asking parade entrants, as well as community members, to â€śshare the spirit of Christmasâ€ť with the children at the Palmer Home by bringing a canned food item to the parade. The cans will be collected at the park, which will also serve as the start of the parade.
â€śWe are very excited for people to come to Sturgis for the annual Christmas parade,â€ť said Walter Turner, mayor of Sturgis.
â€śIt looks like the weather will be beautiful and we are looking forward to seeing everyone come and enjoy the Christmas parade.â€ť
And just as it has been for the past three years, the grand marshall for this yearâ€™s parade is a surprise.
Organizers said it adds a little bit of anticipation to each yearâ€™s event.
Another feature at this yearâ€™s event will be entertainment on Main Street by Lauren Pinnix.
Talida Collins, one of the organizers for the Sturgis parade, said there will be several new aspects to the parade line up this year. At last count, there were 60 entries, including walking units, go-karts, motorcycles, antique cars and â€śthe balloon people.â€ť
Collins said Santa will be at the end of the parade, in rocking in a rocking chair in the bed of a truck this year.
Shirley Arney, Sturgis Christmas parade organizer, said Santa is what all of the children look forward to each year.
â€śAnd for the adults, we like to see the children enjoy themselves,â€ť Arney said. â€śThat is what the parade is all about.â€ť
Arney said the line up will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the town park, where the collection of canned food items will be located.
For more information about the 2010 Sturgis Christmas parade, call Mayor Turner at 465-7637.