After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the region’s most famous hometown Christmas parade returns this Friday at 7 PM to downtown West Chester. Ranked by USA Today as one of the best places “to experience the arrival of Santa,” this year’s West Chester Christmas Parade will feature Saint Nick making his most unique entrance yet.
“We all know that Santa likes to surprise us, but I can reveal that he will have his own treehouse complete with a 20-foot zip line, and 18-foot span antlers on Rudolph. You don’t want to miss it,” said Katie Walker, President of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, who says the brand new float is made possible by Tree House World of West Chester and Lamb McErlane, PC.
The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce has been proud to present the #WCChristmasParade since 1979, growing it to one of the most popular events in the region thanks to tremendous support from sponsors and volunteers. The parade is the marquee event of six weekends of fabulous lights and free holiday activities, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, during Chester County Hospital Lights Up Holiday Weekends in West Chester in the heart of historic West Chester.
With nearly 1,000 parade participants and more than 55 dazzling parade elements, visitors will delight in floats with local flair by some of Chester County’s most creative designers and sparkling performances by hometown favorites including almost a dozen regional high school and college marching bands, cheer squads and dance teams.
A highly curated selection of professional parade elements includes extreme jump rope artists and world-class BMX riders sponsored by The Master’s Baker and Zukin Realty. Massive Dynamic Sound will provide production as 6ABC Meteorologist Adam Joseph emcees with Vice Chair of the Greater West Chester Chamber Commerce Christy Cosgrove near the VIP Area sponsored by Cocoon.
All performances will be presented within 60 to 90 minutes to accommodate requests for children to see Santa’s grand finale well before bedtime.
“We’re thrilled that this year’s parade allows us to celebrate the great things in and around West Chester in a time frame that’s accessible to more people,” said Michael J. Duncan, President & CEO, Chester County Hospital.
West Chester’s 26-foot holiday tree will be lit just before the parade at 6:30 PM on the steps of the Historic Chester County Courthouse, with performances by the West Chester University Gospel Choir and West Chester Area School District Elementary Honors Choir. Featuring 11,000 lights and 1,500 silver metallic ornaments, the tree sponsored by Potts, Shoemaker & Grossman, LLC includes a quarter-mile of gold festooning and 180 feet of white garland. In addition, dozens of ornaments will adorn the tree decorated by 70 nonprofit organizations, continuing a tradition that started in 2021 to help support community outreach during the pandemic.
The West Chester Christmas Parade begins on Market Street at New Street, where it heads east toward Matlack Street and completes its one-mile loop heading west on Gay Street through the heart of West Chester’s historic district. Five paid parking garages/lots are available to parade goers, including:
- Parking garage at 14 East Chestnut Street
- Parking garage at 20 South High Street
- Parking garage at 220 West Market Street (accessible via Wollerton Street from South of Darlington Street due to parade road closures)
- Parking lot on corner of Chestnut Street and Church Street.
- Parking lot on corner of Chestnut Street and Darlington Street.
Road closures begin at 2 PM on Friday with the closure of High Street between Gay and Market until 10 PM. From 4:30 PM to 10 PM, the following roads will be closed: West Market Street between New Street and Bradford Avenue (staging area), Gay Street between Matlack Street & New Street, Market Street between Matlack Street & Bradford Avenue, Walnut Street between Chestnut Street & Miner Street, High Street between Chestnut Street & Miner Street, Church Street between Chestnut Street & Market Street, Darlington Street between Chestnut Street & Wollerton Alley, New Street between Chestnut Street & Market Street.