24-hours later, the Christmas Parade is saved

Santa arrives at the end of the Christmas Parade 2016. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo)

O’FALLON – The annual O’Fallon Illuminated Christmas Parade is back on! After hearing about the cancellation, Beth Spradling Ortega, who runs the real estate agency the Beth Ortega Group Re/Max Preferred, said she knew she had to save it. The parade will be happening as scheduled on November 25 at 6:00 p.m.

Ortega reached out to Mayor Herb Roach, who was also trying his hardest to find a way to save the parade. Together, they have come up with a plan to keep it going.

“I read the Weekly’s article and thought ‘You can’t cancel Christmas,’ it was like a bad movie. So, we’re going to make the parade happen. I’ve pulled off bigger things in less time, we can do this,” Ortega explained.

“We’re meeting tonight to try to figure out what we need, when we need it and how we need it, as well as some sponsorship levels. We’re going to get businesses involved either with sponsoring the parade or with contributing a minimal fee towards the parade, get some funds so we can do this up right as it progresses. After we get things figured out, we’re going to reach out to the public for volunteers so that O’Fallon can come together and save Christmas,” Ortega said.

The City of O’Fallon is involved, and is helping with the acquiring of the float beds. Ortega said she is not sure in what capacity, whether the floats are being purchased or given, but she does know that they will soon have access.

“I think there’s a business that’s going to help us with building the floats, giving time, and then the sponsorships will also help. We will also hopefully have community members, and whatever we can do get people involved will be great. The Seipp family will also be helping.

“We’re so thrilled that it’s going to keep going, and Roger and I are so happy that we will be able to still do a float,” Dee Van Etten said.

“When we learned of the possible cancellation of the Christmas Parade, the City immediately began to take action in order to save the event. In the past 48 hours, I have heard from a number of local companies and individuals that were interested in stepping up to help keep this event alive,” said Mayor Herb Roach, in a City of O’Fallon press release.

“I can’t say thank you enough to those that have volunteered already, and for those who may volunteer in the future for keeping this great tradition alive. Many more volunteers are still needed,” he continued.

“I want to thank the Van Etten Family for the many years of involvement with the parade, homecoming, and many other activities in the community,” states Mayor Roach. “This is why I love this community and why it continues to be the number one community in the area – because of the great people.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Beth Spradling Ortega at bethortegagroup@gmail.com, or call her at (618) 616-3241.