Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowd in last year’s parade.

Santa may be sporting some shades and swim trunks this year during the annual Christmas Holiday Parade set to move down Western Boulevard at 10 a.m. Saturday.

This year’s theme is “Surf, Sand and Santa” encouraging the more than 50 float entrants to feature their best beachy Santa design.

Sponsored by the Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce, the parade will celebrate its 62nd anniversary this year.

According to Fernando Schiefelbein, military liaison for the parade, not much has changed during the last six decades except the size of the parade.

“It has evolved tremendously,” said Schiefelbein. “More businesses and chamber members have joined in the parade. It is also televised.”

This year, 16 professional floats and 40 amateur floats are registered for the parade, each vying for one of the top three awards.

According to Schiefelbein, the float participants’ enthusiasm is what will set the parade apart.

“Every year they appear more energetic in their designs,” said Schiefelbein.

Per usual, the man of the hour, Santa, will bring up the rear of the parade.

“My personal favorite is when Santa passes by,” said Schiefelbein. “Watching all of the children’s faces, (kids)waving at him trying to get his attention.”

The parade will travel a mile and a half down Western Boulevard, beginning at Coastal Carolina Community College and ending at Brynn Marr Shopping Center.

“The City of Jacksonville, Chamber of Commerce, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune always puts their best foot forward when it comes to this parade,” said Schiefelbein. “It has full command attention to make it a successful parade.”

Western Boulevard will be closed to traffic at 9 a.m. and will reopen after the event has concluded.

For more information, visit www.jacksonville