52nd Annual Stuart Christmas Parade Ready for December 7th

The 52nd Annual Stuart Christmas Parade will be held Friday, December 7, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. This year’s parade, organized by Stuart Main Street and the Downtown Business Association of Stuart, follows the theme Christmas by the Sea, and boasts nearly 80 entries including seven bands, five performing groups, 28 lighted floats, and – of course – Santa in a beach buggy. This year’s parade Grand Marshall is retiring Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder. Crowder will retire this January after serving in Martin County law enforcement since 1965, and as Sherriff for the past 20 years. The parade, always held the first Friday in December, follows East Ocean Boulevard from Georgia Avenue to Monterey Boulevard.

“The Stuart Christmas parade has been a tradition in Martin County for over 50 years,” says parade co-chair, Teresa Lamar-Sarno. “Schools, civic groups and businesses begin calling as early as February to make sure they have a chance to participate. Everyone wants a head start creating the spectacular lighted floats that highlight the parade.” Thousands of residents and visitors begin lining up along East Ocean Boulevard several hours before the parade kicks off to capture a prime viewing spot to watch the parade and celebrate the start of the holiday season.

Parade floats are all judged before the start of the parade, and five prizes are awarded:

  • “Christmas by the Sea” 30’-40’ – The best example of the theme in its size category. 
  • Illuminations/Musical 30’-40’ – The most amazing lights and music display in its size category.
  • “Christmas by the Sea” Under 30’ – The best example of the theme in its size category.
  • Illuminations/Musical Under 30’ – The most amazing lights and music display in its size category.
  • Stuart’s Choice – The judges’ favorite float!

The Stuart Christmas Parade is a Martin County tradition, and one of the last remaining nighttime Christmas parades in the United States.  This year the Down­town Busi­ness Asso­ci­a­tion of Stu­art has joined Stu­art Main Street in orga­niz­ing the parade. This year’s parade co-chairs are Teresa Lamar-Sarno and Bonnie Landry. The City of Stuart and the Martin County Board of County Commissioners are also active participants this year with both  City and County Commissioners riding in the parade. Kate Parmelee and Gabriella Ferraro, program hosts from Martin County’s television channel, MCTV, will emcee the parade and MCTV staff will film the parade for rebroadcast on MCTV throughout the holiday season.

Stuart Main Street is a historic preservation-based program dedicated to building a healthy, vital downtown area through community self-reliance and a focus on the downtown’s traditional assets: personal service, local ownership, unique architecture, and sense of community. Formed in 1987, the group follows the Main Street Four-Point Approach® as established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center and practiced in over 1600 communities across the country. Stuart Main Street meets the second Tuesday of every month at 4:30 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers at 121 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart. For more information, visit stuartmainstreet.org or call 772-286-2848.

The Stuart Downtown Business Association (DBA) formed to market the shops, galleries, restaurants, and professional businesses of Stuart’s Historic Downtown and the surrounding areas. The group advocates for business owners and promotes a positive image of the downtown business district as a unique alternative to “cookie cutter” mall shopping through marketing, events, and other promotions. The DBA meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 8:00 a.m. in the City Hall Chambers at 121 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart. For more information, visit www.historicdowntownstuart.com.