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

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Road closures along route, staging and exit areas

This year the parade route will run up Broadway, so road closures will be set accordingly:

At 4 p.m., Seventh Street will close between Pennsylvania and Broadway.

At 5:30 p.m., Seventh Street will close in the block between Broadway and Beard. Broadway will close between Seventh Street and Highland Street.

At 7 p.m., Highland will close between Beard and Philadelphia Streets, as will Union Street, between Highland and Ridgewood.

NOTE: All parked cars must be off the parade route before 5 p.m., so those streets can be closed.

Safe Event For Families (SEFF) are out in full force today, preparing for Shawnee’s biggest winter celebration — the annual Christmas parade. Remember, 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 and some staging and exiting streets will close just before the event; all cars must be off the streets before they close.

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

SEFF President Dell Kerbs said barricades will be at the curb this year — no one is to stand on the street.

“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. Bolt said entertainment will begin at 6 p.m.

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 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.

The four trophy winners –– President’s Trophy, Mayor’s Trophy, Grand Marshall’s Trophy and Best Overall — will be marked with banners.

“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.”

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

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.