Electric Light Parade to kick off this weekend

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Thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets of the West End for the annual Electric Light Parade, which will kick off at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 14.

The parade was launched in 2013 as part of an effort to support local businesses in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The parade had just eight vehicles and a marching band when it first kicked off that year but has since grown to feature more than 80 participants and thousands of spectators.

The parade — a collaborative effort between the city, the Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Parks and Recreation — continues strong as a way to help drive business to the West End during the winter months. Local businesses will again serve hot chocolate along the parade route and offer special deals for the day.

The event features antique cars, fire trucks, floats and bicycles adorned with holiday lights. Awards will also be given to the most festive float after the parade.

The parade also coincides with the chamber’s annual holiday window-decorating contest which kicked off last month, part of an effort to encourage residents and visitors to shop local.

The festivities are presented by The Long Beach Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and other sponsors include Peknic, Peknic & Schaefer LLC., Lancer Insurance, Petrey Real Estate and Pam Air Service, Inc.

The parade will kick off at Ohio Avenue and will run east on West Beech Street until New York Avenue. Parking is available at the Long Beach Catholic Regional School, at 735 W. Broadway. For more information, visit Long Beach Electric Light Parade’s Facebook page, www.thelongbeachchamber.com or www.longbeachny.gov.