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Santa Claus is coming to town — after dark

Hendersonville's downtown Christmas parade is moving from a daytime event to an evening procession this year.

Leaders of the Hendersonville Merchants Association, which organizes the Fourth of July and Christmas parades downtown, said merchants had encouraged the change for the event, scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.

"We feel like this is going to help the merchants on Main Street," Sandra Walker of the Merchants Association told the City Council. "We've had a lot of positive feedback. They're looking forward to having the parade at night."

The city's Downtown Advisory and its Special Events Committee both voted unanimously to recommend approval of the change. The City Council on Thursday night voted unanimously to approve the change.

The parade route will remain the same, with the parade beginning at 6 p.m., as will the staging area along Oakland Street at Asheville Highway. Parade floats and participants are also able to use the new Hendersonville High School parking lot on on North Church Street. Main Street will close at 4 p.m. and reopen some time after the parade ends and the crowds have dispersed, Downtown Events Coordinator Jamie Carpenter said.