The Saline Area Chamber of Commerce has made it's decision. It's signature event will be called "Saline's Christmas Parade."
The parade, most recently known as the Holiday/Christmas parade, was renamed during the chamber board of directors' annual retreat earlier this month.
Art Trapp, executive director for the chamber, said the board had a lively discussion.
“It was not unanimous, but it was more than a majority,” Trapp said. “It was a spirited debate. Ultimately, the prevailing opinion was that Saline is a Christian community and that the parade should reflect that.”
Saline's Christmas Parade will be held at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in Downtown Saline. This year's theme is “Your Favorite Christmas Memories.”
Saline's winter parade was known as the Christmas Parade for years, but around 10 years ago, the chamber changed the name to “Holiday Parade,” to be more inclusive. It was a decision that didn't sit well with some Christians in Saline. Since 2012 the Knight of Columbus Saline Council 6674 has lobbied the chamber to call it a Christmas Parade. The chamber partially acquiesced to the Knights in 2013, changing the name to Holiday/Christmas Parade.
According to Trapp, the chamber didn't receive any negative blowback from its decision last fall.
“The responses we received were positive. In fact, the complaints we did receive were from people who felt we didn't go far enough because holiday was still in the title.”
With the parade named, Trapp hopes to get back to the business of planning for the annual event, which brings thousands of people to Downtown Saline.
“Hopefully, we have it behind us and we can put the issue to rest,” Trapp said.
He hopes more businesses will compete for the “Santa's Cup,” a trophy awarded to the business who makes the best float. This year's theme, “Your Favorite Holiday Memories,” allows a lot of freedom for float makers.
In a Saline Post internet poll conducted in October, 71 percent of people said they wanted it called a “Christmas Parade,” and 23 percent wanted it called a “Holiday Parade.”