Nederland Lighted Christmas Parade returns with new time, grand plans

Published 12:24 am Tuesday, October 19, 2021

NEDERLAND — With more than 130 entries, the 2019 Nederland Lighted Christmas Parade was the largest in the city’s history.

Due to COVID, 2019 was also the last time the community event was held.

The fun returns this year with a later start time and a request from the host Nederland Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau to save the date.

The 2021 parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

The start time was moved back 30 minutes to help participants and parents get all riders in place and on schedule.

“We hope leaving a little later is going to make it more convenient for everyone and a little safer,” Chamber President/CEO Diana LaBorde said. “The traffic situation can be nutty during this parade. It is a nighttime lighted Christmas parade, and everyone is asked to light their floats and golf carts.”

Everyone is invited to attend and participate, and there is a fee to ride depending on what size float a participant wishes to enter.

There is also a list of rules that are very important to follow, according to organizers.

“We ask that everyone has float walkers, whether a Mardi Gras-size float or a truck with a trailer,” LaBorde said. “If you have a golf cart, you probably don’t need float walkers. Sometimes we have to stop the parade because the crowd has come so far into the street. The people love this parade.”

Appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus are reserved for the final float.

A host of festival queens, school bands, dance teams and twirlers are expected to highlight the 2021 parade.

The event will be filmed, and announcers will call out each entry.

Jenna Butler, who rode in the 2019 parade as Miss Nederland, remembers an exciting scene with a lot of people happy the parade got going despite some predictions of bad weather.

“First they saw the big crown, then the sash and it was amazing,” she said. “Right behind me was Santa, and it was neat to be part of the big finale. It is always so cool to see the little girls amazed by the crown.”

Butler was 17 at the time, a senior at Nederland High School and had recently been accepted to attend Texas A&M.

Today she is a human resources development major in College Station about to secure enough hours to classify as a junior.

“I’ve grown up in Nederland my whole life,” she said. “It is so cool to be in a parade and drive down Boston Avenue, see familiar faces and wave to little kids who you know look up to you like I looked up to the queens when I was a kid. It’s cool to know you are a role model for those girls, because everyone pretty much knows everyone in Nederland. It’s really special.”

The 2021 parade starts at 21st Street and Nederland Avenue, travels east up Nederland Avenue before turning left on 12th Street, passing in front of City Hall and turning left on Boston Avenue before ending its march near Central Middle School.

The parade fun includes judging and monetary awards in commercial, non-commercial and best decorated auto categories.

A lot of candy is also thrown, making the event a must-attend for local children.

“Last year at Christmas time, COVID was bad,” LaBorde remembers. “We were urged strongly to cancel the parade. We took a lot of flak for it, and that is OK. We felt, in the long run, we were doing what was in the best interest of the public. We don’t want to disappoint people, so the parade is a go this year. (Community members) have been calling us since about April. I’m not even exaggerating. People are pretty ready for a parade.”

For more information, call 409-722-0279.