Safe Event For Families (SEFF) will be out in full force Thursday, preparing for Shawnee’s biggest winter celebration — the annual Christmas parade. There will be a twist though; the parade route is taking a detour this year, due to Streetscape construction wrapping up along Main Street.

Safe Event For Families (SEFF) will be out in full force Thursday, preparing for Shawnee’s biggest winter celebration — the annual Christmas parade. There will be a twist though; the parade route is taking a detour this year, due to Streetscape construction wrapping up along Main Street.

SEFF's Ed Bolt said, though they could have made much of the traditional route down Main Street work, it was decided that the safest and smartest thing to do would be to leave the east end of downtown alone entirely, as crews finish the project.

SEFF and the City of Shawnee managed to iron out final plans for the parade route just a week or two ago, Bolt said. The new route will begin at Main Street and Broadway. It will move north on Broadway to Highland, where floats and marchers will turn east onto Highland and finish at Union Street.

The route will basically work its way around much of Woodland Veterans Park — which will offer lots of space for parade-goers to gather.

“Broadway should work well; it's nice and wide,” Bolt said.

Bolt said the route change is strictly temporary, making a concession only until Streetscape is done. Next year's parade should return to Main Street, as per tradition.

Pre-show

Once again, residents can jumpstart the festivities by attending the annual KGFF-Jones Theatres Cans Film Festival downtown, where there will be a special 4:30 p.m. viewing of the classic holiday film, “Home Alone,” rated PG, at the Carmike Hornbeck & Penthouse Twin, 125 N. Bell St. Doors open 3:30 p.m., and the show will let out before 6:30 p.m., just in time for the parade.

Admission for one person is a donation of two canned goods. Donations will be given to the Salvation Army.

Main event

Thanks to main sponsor Vyve, SEFF is presenting “Christmas Under the Stars,” this year’s theme for the parade, which starts at 7 p.m.

As of Friday, the parade had roughly 50 entries.

Bolt said he fully expects the registry to push past 100 entries by event night.

Many people don't commit until right before the parade, he said.

Last year there were more than 100 entries in the parade — businesses, bands, dance troupes and antique cars, among others.

In an effort to keep the show moving along, SEFF will judge floats while they are in the line-up area, so there’s no more stopping at a grandstand.

Bolt said entertainment will begin at 6 p.m.

Bolt said spreading out the several bandstands was an effort to enable people to fan out and get a better view the parade, while still being able to hear about the floats from emcees along the route.

Last year the set up helped people naturally gravitate toward the middle of each block instead of at intersections.

Each bandstand also served as an emcee station so everyone along the parade route would be able to hear about the entries as well as the four trophy winners –– President’s Trophy, Mayor’s Trophy, Grand Marshall’s Trophy and Best Overall.

This year Mills Machine University holds the distinction of being Grand Marshal.

“I think that worked out really well last year,” Bolt said. “And not having a reviewing stand, where floats would have to stop in front of judges, helped keep the parade moving without long gaps or delays.”

Bolt said since there wasn't a good place to set it up this year, there will be no fireworks salute to mark the start of the parade moving down the route.

For more information, visit seffshawnee.org.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.