SEBRING - Santa Claus will appear this year at Highland County's Christmas parades in Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid, but in Sebring he may be upstaged by some horses.
Casey Wohl, who handles marketing and public relations for the Sebring's Community Redevelopment Agency, said that Budweiser Clydesdales will participate in the parade.
Wohl and Liz Barber, a member of Heartland Young Professionals, which organizes the parade, said they are unaware of the Clydesdales participating in any previous parade.
Avon Park will hold the earliest parade on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. The parade, as it typically does, will proceed along Main Street from Anoka to Verona. It will include floats and dozens of participants.
Tori Trinder, executive director of the Avon Park Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is talking about having food available after the parade.
More information is available by calling the Chamber at (863) 453-3350.
Sebring's parade begins at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 and will begin at the corner of Sebring Parkway and North Ridgewood Drive. It will then run south and go around the downtown circle to Commerce Avenue and end up at McClain Lane by Firemen's Field.
This year's parade theme will be "A Classic Christmas," and the grand marshal of the parade will be Sebring Mayor George Hensley, who is being honored as he wraps up his final term in office. Hensley, who has served more than 20 years as mayor and city council member, announced earlier this year he's not seeking re-election.
Wohl said that the Clydesdales will participate in the parade in large part due to connections that downtown business owner Lora Todd has with Budweiser.
In a press release, Wohl said, that to be one of the Budweiser Clydesdales, the horses have to be about 6 feet tall, weigh around 1,000 pounds, have four white legs and a blaze of white on the face and a black mane and tail. The horses, which are accompanied by a dalmatian, each consume per day 20 to 25 quarts of feed, 40 to 50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day, Wohl said in the press release.
The Sebring parade is limited to 100 entrants and registration must be completed by Nov. 27.
The rules require that all vehicles, motorcycles and floats must be decorated and have a "Christmas/holiday theme."
Applications are available at www.heartlandyp.com
The entry fee is $35 for general entries and $25 for non-profits.
In Lake Placid, the parade will be held Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. The route will begin at Dal Hall Boulevard and North Main Avenue, proceed south on North Main Avenue, turn east on Interlake Boulevard and then go to U.S. 27.
Registration applications must be submitted by 2 p.m. Nov. 22. Late entries have to pay a $25 fee.
Further information is available by calling (863) 465-4331.