Applications to participate in the 27th annual Hometowne Christmas Parade on Dec. 7 cost $30 until Nov. 11. From Nov. 12 through Nov. 30 the price is $60, and those wishing to sign up late will be charged $100.
City of Sparks Special Events Director Francine Burge said early registration “makes things easier for everybody,” and she added that the Hometowne Christmas Parade is a great opportunity for local business, large and small, to market themselves during a signature Sparks event.
“I think the reason they like to sign up, and the reason we think of it as an opportunity to get more people involved, is that for $60 you can get a marketing opportunity to get in front between five and 10,000 people in downtown Sparks,” Burge said. “It is kind of a fun way to get out in front of the community, especially if you are a retail shop it is a good chance to be out advertising to the city.”
This year’s Hometowne Christmas Parade is an official Signature NV 150 event as part of the NV 150 Celebration declared by Gov. Brian Sandoval, commemorating the 150-year anniversary of Nevada’s statehood. The sesquicentennial celebration’s theme of 150 years of Nevada heritage will also be the theme for the Hometowne Christmas Parade, offering a challenge to float makers and parade participants.
Burge said floats do not have to be extravagant to catch the attention of parade viewers and the city will update cost-effective ways to participate in the Christmas event on its Facebook page in the months leading up to the parade. She said keeping to the theme of the parade is one way to stand out at the parade, and she said one business that has done it well in the past happens to be closed during the winter.
“I think it is interesting that one of our long-time participants has been Wild Island,” Burge said. “They don’t really need to do marketing, but they always have a good time and bring their mock mascot out to remind people they are here in the community and to have a good time during the holidays.
“It can also be a great teamwork exercise for your employees or co-workers around the holidays.”
The application process for the Hometowne Christmas Parade has been moved online at http://hometownechristmas.eventbrite.com. Burge said it provides internal streamlining for the city’s reduced staffing numbers. She said a couple complaints have come through about having paper applications, so the city has made those available for $10.
“We have less staff and doing it online made it a lot easier,” she said. “We are trying to move toward a more efficient way of putting on this parade because it is rather expensive.”
Continual cost-cutting efforts helped the City of Sparks reduce the cost of Hometowne Christmas, including the parade, tree lighting and craft fair, from as high as $82,000 (2009) to as low as $38,000 (2012). The 2013 Hometowne Christmas is projected to cost about $44,000.