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Annual Christmas parade, tree lighting set Sunday afternoon

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Yuletide festivities will kick off Sunday with the city's annual Christmas parade, which will start at 1 p.m. at Watertown High School and snake its way down Washington Street.

"It's looking good for Sunday," said organizer Stanley E. Zaremba, who is a city parks maintenance worker and has been the parade chairman for about 10 years. "I do it mainly for the kids."

Mr. Zaremba said he expected the parade to be "a bit bigger" than last year's, with about 50 organizations — including singing groups, Cub Scout troops and floats — signed up already. As always, the parade will conclude with a visit from Santa Claus, this year on a large sled.

Mr. Zaremba said he just hopes the weather cooperates.

"One year, it snowed, and one year, it rained," he said, adding that "it's been nice the past few years."

The Downtown Business Association also is involved in putting on the event.

The city will hold the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on Public Square. Northern Blend Chorus, a women's barbershop group, will perform. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will arrive in their sleigh to help Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and City Council members turn on the city's holiday tree and the music and light display. Mulled cider and hot cocoa will be served, courtesy of the Downtown Business Association and Johnny D's restaurant.

The music and light display features thousands of LED lights that are synchronized to a variety of holiday songs. The 22-minute music and light display will run every 30 minutes each day from 4:30 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 3.

During the tree-lighting ceremony, the north side of Public Square will be closed to traffic.

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