A former longtime educator who has retired to become a stargazing specialist is the grand marshal and a plant engineer who serves the community on multiple planning committees is parade marshal for the 26th annual Keene Christmas Light Parade at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 in Keene.
The parade will be followed by a spectacular fireworks show.
The parade and fireworks are presented by the Keene Business Development Corporation (Type B board), the Keene Economic Development Corporation (Type B board) with assistance from Pinnacle Bank, Texas Health Huguley Hospital, and many community partners.
Parade staging is at the Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium parking lot at Old Betsy Road and Magnolia Street on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University. Anything with wheels, feet, or hooves, adorned with Christmas lights and is consistent with the theme, “The Reason We Celebrate This Season,” is welcome to participate.
Jerry Becker, who taught for many years in the Keene public and private school systems, is Grand Marshal. In retirement, he has volunteered countless hours at observatory manager at the refurbished Thomsen Observatory on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University. Becker was named in October by the Keene Chamber of Commerce as Keene Citizen of the Year.
Ellis Hainey, the physical plant manager at SWAU where he has served for 35 years, is Parade Marshal. Hainey holds influential positions on committees responsible for Keene’s two parades, Starfest, the annual fireworks show, and many other events.
Registration deadline and fee
Parade registration deadline is noon Friday, Dec. 3.
Parade entry fee is $10 per float and can be paid at the registration booth.
The fireworks show will immediately follow the parade. The show will be presented west of the Duck Pond at Callicott Student Park. According to organizers, the best place to watch the fireworks is from the Leiske-Pultar parking lot or the embankment along Old Betsy Road between Magnolia and Campus Drive.
Judging of entries
Parade entrants who want to be judged and be eligible for prizes should be in position at 5 p.m. in the Leiske-Pultar parking lot. Judging begins at 5:15 p.m.
All entrants should enter the gymnasium parking lot on Magnolia Street.
The parade starts at the Leiske-Pultar parking lot and goes west on Magnolia to Old Betsy Road, south on Old Betsy to Hillcrest, east on Hillcrest to Mockingbird, south on Mockingbird to Fourth, west on Fourth to Old Betsy, and north on Old Betsy back to the Leiske-Pultar parking lot.
First-place trophies will be awarded in the following categories:
■ Best lighted vehicle
■ Best lighted float
■ Best animal entry
■ Best business entry
■ Best children’s entry
■ Best Pathfinder club
■ Best Adventurer club
■ Best antique entry
■ Most unique entry
One entry will be awarded Best Overall and will receive a trophy.
The parade is organized by the Keene Chamber of Commerce. Other sponsors are KTH Transportation, Republic Services, Texas Adventist Conference, Southwestern Adventist University, Quality Brakes & Alignment, Cleburne Ford, Hopps Automotive, United Cooperative Services, RV Ranch, Bob’s Rural Garbage Service, Crest Water, Edward Jones Office of Eddie Yancey, Gillin Realty, Hewlett Office Systems, Keene Pharmacy, Town Hall Estates, and Putnam Service/Lennox.
In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, the parade will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12.
For parade entry information, call the chamber office at 817-556-2995.