MURPHY — One of the Murphy’s most popular special events, Christmas in the Park, is scheduled for Dec. 1, and, by popular demand, the festival’s unique mini-parade will open the festivities.


“The mini-parade has been such a hit that people who attend the festival really want it to continue,” Special Events Coordinator Kayla McFarland said. “The evening is packed with lots of fun things to do and experience, and it all starts with the parade.”


On Thursday, Dec. 1, the Christmas in the Park mini-parade starts at 5:20 p.m. at the Fire Station. An application is required to be in the parade, and can be obtained online at www.murphytx.org. Deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 18.


Individual or group walkers, wagons, bicycles, golf carts, ATVs, and other small motorized or non-motorized vehicles are welcome. Since the parade uses only the sidewalk around the City Hall pond, no cars, trucks or trailers can be accommodated.


Best in Show Awards will be given in various categories, including: business; church/civic; and band/school. There is no charge to enter a float in the parade.


“Being in a parade is such fun, and all it takes to fill out an application,” McFarland said. “It’s a great way to showcase your group, business or organization.”


The parade’s conclusion triggers the start of the festival, with the lighting of the community Christmas tree. Mayor Eric Barna is scheduled to flip the switch with the help of Santa Claus.


In addition to the tree lighting, the event will feature live reindeer, marshmallow and banana roasting, food and craft vendors, local choir music, and each family gets one photo with Santa.


The traditional recycling tree decorating contest will also be held. Environmentally-aware groups are invited to claim a tree and decorate it using recyclable materials. This year, the ninth annual, the required item is cardboard. The winning tree gets a fun prize.


Applications to enter can be obtained by contacting events@murphytx.org between now and Friday, Nov. 18.


Sponsors for the event are always welcome. So far, this year’s sponsors include the Oak Brook School and the Murphy Community Development Corporation. Businesses wishing to become sponsors can get details by contacting the Special Event staff at events@murphytx.org.