The Palatka Christmas Parade starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24
The phone in the Deputy’s Attic Antique store on St. Johns Avenue in Palatka rang constantly on Friday. The shop’s proprietor, long-time St. Johns merchant Sam Deputy, went back and forth between helping his customers and answering questions on the phone about one topic — the Palatka Christmas Parade.
The annual Palatka tradition, which Deputy is working tirelessly to organize, is scheduled 7 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, Friday. Nov. 24, and will travel from the City’s riverfront west on St. Johns Avenue.
Started in 1909, the parade has been the official annual start of the holiday season 113 times, skipping only world wars and pandemics.
“This will be the 114th time the people of Palatka will come together on the day after Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday season,” said Deputy between phone calls last week in his store. “It’s a homecoming. Grown children and their families who have come home for Thanksgiving come and see people they haven’t seen in years. Young families come with their small ones. It is a parade but is always also a holiday event. And that is what this season is also about, being with friends and family.”
Sam Deputy’s 93-year-old mother, Jean, who was in the store with her son last week, has fond memories of bringing all seven of her children to the parade.
“We all always came to town for the parade. For all my children, seeing Santa was the start of the Christmas season,” she said. “Now I am here with their children, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This is part of what makes Palatka so special.”
The parade, sponsored by Downtown Palatka Inc., a merchant group of downtown businesses, is sponsoring the parade with the help of local donations.
“This going to be a traditional Palatka Christmas parade, full of local people, organizations and bands.” said Deputy, “We might even have three wise goats.”
The parade starts at 7 p.m. and travels west from the City’s Riverfront. Deputy urges people to come early and bring their own chairs if they want to have a seat.
“We will have thousands here on Friday. This is a Palatka tradition that goes back for more than a century. We want people to come and start the season with their friends, family and neighbors.” said Deputy.