MANCHESTER — The 10th Manchester Holiday Lighted Tractor Parade kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with more tractors and floats set to participate than ever before.
The parade, coordinated by Dorr Oil and Propane, the Manchester Business Association and the town of Manchester, features vehicles of all sorts, all bedecked, bedazzled and festooned with seasonal decorations and thousands of holiday lights.
A record 25 entrants are expected to take part in the annual holiday spectacle, Business Association Executive Director John Burnham said. Entries are being accepted through Thursday.
In light of the increased entries, the parade route has been expanded to all three downtown roundabouts. The route will start at Manchester Elementary Middle School, proceed down School Street to Bonnet Street, then south on Main Street to the Equinox Terrace roundabout. From there, it will return north to Historic Main Street and back to Memorial Avenue and the middle school.
Santa and Mrs. Claus might be making a special appearance at the parade, according to the Business Association.
While the parade is Manchester’s annual celebration of holiday spirit, there’s more than bragging rights up for grabs. Dorr Oil and Propane will be awarding three $300 cash prizes in the following categories: Best Use of Lights, Best Float and Best Nonprofit. Interim Town Manager Leslie Perra, Select Board Vice Chairman Greg Cutler and Manchester Journal reporter Greg Sukiennik will serve as judges.
The parade is among the highlights of Manchester Merriment, the Business Association’s annual slate of holiday activities and attractions:
• The annual Holiday Inn Tours will take place this Saturday and Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 16 inns throughout the region. Tickets are available online, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to local food shelves. See manchestermerriment.org for more details.
• The Garden Club of Manchester is hosting a Winter Bazaar at the Manchester Community Library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Jewelry makers, fiber artists, potters, painters, bakers and many other artists and artisans will have items for sale.
• A Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball will be held at the Manchester Community Library from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 14. This event is for those eligible to enter their first year at Hogwarts (ages 10 and over), as well as alumni and staff.
• The 2002 Santa Express, formerly known as the Elf Express Train Ride, will depart the historic depot at r.k. Miles on Depot Street the weekend of Dec. 17 and 18. The hour-long ride through the Green Mountains on decorated train cars features Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as refreshments. Online ticket sales end Dec. 14 at 6 p.m., and are available at eventbrite.com/cc/the-santa-express-1342699.
• Chabad of Manchester is hosting a Hanukkah Hot Cocoa and Skating Party from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 22 at Riley Rink. The $10 admission includes skate rentals.