APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Although many would say there’s some magic in the air each year at the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade, the event definitely doesn’t just happen by magic.
Organizers invest countless hours throughout the year to pull it off. They aren’t the only ones working hard though, those in the parade also put in many hours of hard work to make sure they’re at their best the night of the parade.
Just ask the band students at Oshkosh West High School who tell Local Five News that they look forward to marching in the parade each year.
“It is very chaotic in a sense a lot of us are working overtime to make sure that we are ready,” said senior Gabby Heling.
Band directors get the music they will play at the parade ready by the end of the summer or the start of the fall. Once Halloween rolls around, the students begin rehearsing the holiday tunes with urgency.
“They have really built a sense of pride in what they do and the reception they get and I think that’s really fun for them,” said associate band director Brian Wilson.
“I think it’s the strength of our band we bring a lot of students,” said Heling. “They perform at such a high level it’s easy to tell when the Oshkosh West band is coming down the street.”
Wilson said the band has marched in the downtown Appleton Christmas Parade since 2007. They will have about 200 students marching in the parade next week and are one of the bigger bands in attendance.
“It’s real awesome to see all the people cheering for us and they’re clapping and hooting and hollering it’s really neat,” said Wilson.
Over at Murphy Concrete and Construction, they also know a thing or two about being a showstopper at Christmas parades. The company has won awards in various holiday parades throughout Northeast Wisconsin including Appleton’s for its festively-decorated trucks.
Workers there said they are a family-oriented company and love to be part of community events. They also said they hope they can get kids interested in construction with the brightly decorated trucks.
“We love to see the children’s reactions (when they see our decorated trucks),” said head of fabrication Kyle Lewis.
The company has been part of the downtown Appleton Christmas Parade for 40 years and right now they’re hard at work decorating their truck for the parade.
“Usually we wait to hear what the theme of the parade is and then depending on the theme we come up with a plan and everybody throws their ideas in,” said Lewis.
This year the theme is ‘The Music and Magic of Christmas.’ Lewis said this theme was challenging because it’s difficult to visualize music and magic through decorations on a truck.
He said they’re doing their best though and have a few tricks up their sleeves to make the truck look as festive as possible while following the theme of the parade.
Right now, Lewis said they’re about an eighth of the way done with decorating the truck. He said the warm weather is hurting their progress because employees who would normally be able to help with the truck are tied up doing late-season concreting and construction jobs that are only possible because of the nice weather.
Organizers said the downtown Appleton Christmas Parade brings in about 80,000 spectators every year. It begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday and will broadcast live right here on WFRV TV.