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Plans for the 38th annual Ship Bottom Christmas Parade, slated for 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, are already underway. The theme this year is “Deck the Hulls,” and the grand marshal is Robert Potter. Mark your calendars, and remember to bring your letters for Santa for a postal stamp cancellation designed by sixth-grader Reese Evert.

“Each year the Borough of Ship Bottom continues to hold the parade in order to give back to our community, and bring visitors to Ship Bottom,” the town and the parade committee said in its annual letter announcing the event.

The parade draws people to the Island not only for the day but for the weekend, providing an opportunity to extend the tourist season for local merchants, according to the letter.

On the first Saturday of December, the parade runs along Long Beach Boulevard from Fifth to 25th Street with the judging stand at 16th Street and the Boulevard. Remember to dress in layers so you can add or take away clothing as determined by the weather.

This year, the borough and parade committee agreed to an online-only registration for anyone wishing to participate in the parade: sponsors, walkers, float riders. There is no charge for participating but in order to be eligible for a trophy, preregistration by Nov. 28 is mandatory. To register, visit shipbottom.srsd.net/registration. You can also visit the borough’s official website for a direct link to register.

Sponsorship opportunities, to help pay for parade expenses, include but are not limited to: commercial floats, bands on the floats, marching bands, televised exposure, banners, posters and mailings, according to the parade committee.

A trophy is given to the overall winner. Cash prizes, given by Maggie O’Neill of Mary Allen Realty, will be awarded for first, second, and third places.

Don’t wait until the parade to get in the Christmas spirit – remember the borough’s tree lighting, sponsored by the Ship Bottom Merchants Association, is at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.

Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net