Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Is Santa really prohibited from Mebane Christmas parade? Not exactly


Mebane parade prohibitions: “2. The use of a Santa character or its likeness.”

QUESTION: Who decided there would be no “use of a Santa character or its likeness” for the 2021 Mebane Christmas Parade? The parade is returning after Covid and had Santa in it before the pandemic. [ Editor’s note: The questioner provided a copy of Mebane’s Christmas parade rules, which included as the second of five prohibitions: “The use of a Santa character or its likeness.” (Among other prohibitions: for sale signs, candy being tossed or thrown from parade entries (floats, etc.), and distribution of materials (brochures or pamphlets of any type).”]

ANSWER: While it may first seem that Mebane has become something of a Scrooge, or a Grinch, depending on one’s age of reference, Mebane city manager Chris Rollins says there is no change in the parade rules that existed before the pandemic and in 2021.

“Nothing has changed in many years,” Rollins told the newspaper. He says he “spoke with a retiree and was told when Mebane took back over the parade in the early 2000’s, this was one of the rules at that time. There is only one Santa Claus in the Mebane Christmas Parade and he is where he has traditionally been: at the end of the parade.”

Rollins did acknowledge that some on social media who had read Mebane’s parade rules (“The use of a Santa character of its likeness”) assumed that the jolly elf was banned altogether. “ This went a little crazy on social media with people thinking Santa was completely banned,” the city manager said.

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Not so. According to a Mebane recreation department post that Rollins also provided that made much the same point: “The 2021 Mebane Christmas Parade WILL [Editor’s note: emphasis in the original] feature Santa at the end of the parade as is tradition!

“We have a policy in place as to not have parade entries and participants dress in Santa’s likeness,” the recreation post continues. “It is meant to build up anticipation for his arrival!”

Rollins also said the Mebane’s “no Santa” parade rule is common among other municipalities, as well. A cursory Google search revealed that some North Carolina cities and towns refer to one “approved Santa” at the end of the parade; others describe their prohibitions on “Santa imposters” as prohibiting “Santa suits” or “Santa-costumed” characters other than the real Santa at the end of their respective parades.

Mebane’s Christmas parade begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday night and runs along Clay, Fifth, and Center streets through downtown Mebane.

See schedules for Mebane and Graham Christmas parades on Friday and Saturday:

THE PUBLIC ASKS: Have a question about a matter of public record? Call The Alamance News at 228-7851; write to the newspaper at P.O. Box 431, Graham, NC 27253; or e-mail

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