By: Carrie Holland (JMU Class of 17')
There’s a first time for everything. Especially baseball for Christmas.
Including Little League at Christmas.
After almost a year of brainstorming and preparation, Harrisonburg Little League Association takes their place in the city’s annual Holiday parade taking place in downtown Harrisonburg Dec. 2, Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The time for a Little League Christmas has come.
Last year, HLLA president Dean Warlitner had the idea to participate in the parade. While it was too late for the 2015 parade, he thought it would be a great way to get more little league participants throughout the community as well as a way to keep current participants involved during the off season so he made sure to get the league involved for 2016.
“I thought it would be a good way to get our name out in the community and a good way to get the league more involved in the community. We’re inviting everyone in the league to participate…I can just see a lot of positive things coming from it,” explains Warlitner.
HLLA vice president Crystal Taylor and a group of parents formed a parade committee who has regularly met throughout the year to come up with ideas and plan for their debut in the parade.
While the committee has agreed that keeping it simple for the first year would be the best approach, they’ve made exciting plans to help float the stand out. Following the theme of the parade, “Lights on Parade”, the little league float will resemble a baseball field under lights. The field will be occupied by spectators and a coach “teaching” a player how to swing a bat or hit a ball.
But the float itself is also a team effort.
To make the float a reality, HLLA has received help from a few of their sponsors. The truck, which the field will be set on, is on loan from Steven Toyota.
Both the vinyl wrapping on the truck and the “Merry Christmas” banner that will be carried throughout the parade has been donated by Muddy Feet Graphics. In order to thank their other sponsors, they are also featured on the banner.
Little league spirit will flood the parade as coaches, players, and parent volunteers walk behind the float wearing their uniforms or HLLA sweatshirts. These volunteers will be handing out candy in addition to flyers with information about HLLA to as many people as possible to help promote the league.
Taylor has had her hands full planning the parade in addition to fulfilling the other duties of her vice president position. Dealing with everything from ordering the decorations to printing out flyers to hand out during the parade, her and the parade committee are excited to see all their planning come to life.
Since this is the league’s first year participating in the parade, it’s laying the foundation for many Christmases to come. Warlitner is interested to see how the timing of everything will work out handing out candy and flyers while the parade is moving. They also plan to use this opportunity to appreciate other creative floats and perhaps get some inspiration for next year.
Mainly however, Warlitner and Taylor are just excited to getting the coaches and players involved in the Harrisonburg community and getting information about HLLA out to more people.
“[I’m most excited] to get information out about the upcoming registration and hopefully getting new family involved – also the excitement on the players faces that will be walking in the parade with us. I think it will be a lot of fun,” says Taylor.
Warlitner and Taylor are still encouraging any players who want to get involved to participate in this year’s parade. As Taylor says, “The more the merrier!”
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