History of the Farmer City Christmas Parade

By Chad Wills

The Farmer City Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Farmer City Chamber of Commerce, started in 1975 in its present form by Harland “Junior” Kimler, who was the owner of K&S Furniture in downtown Farmer City. The parade is known around Central Illinois as the kickoff to the Christmas holiday season, and is always the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Originally, the parade stepped off from the high school in Farmer City. However, under the direction of Harland Kimler and his daughter, Teri Emmerson, the parade grew into an event of approximately 100 entries each year, and outgrew the high school’s limited space to line up the parade in the late 1970’s. The parade has stepped off at the Farmer City Fairgrounds since that time, and traditionally proceeds the full length of Main Street each year.

The parade is known for its entries of high school marching bands, including the Blue Ridge, Heyworth, and Lexington bands each year. It also draws many antique tractors, antique cars, Shrine organizations, horses and holiday floats, which makes it a festive occasion! However, the parade is perhaps best known for having WCIA Channel 3’s chief weather forecaster Judy Fraser in the parade each year. Judy will celebrate her 38th consecutive year in the parade in November 2014.

Harland Kimler and Teri Emmerson were chairman of the parade from 1975 to 1994, except two years during which Mike Hendricks as chairman in the early 1990’s. Chad Wills has been chairman of the parade since 1995, and will be celebrating his 20th year as chairman of the parade in 2014.

The 2014 parade will be held on Sunday, November 23rd (the Sunday BEFORE) Thanksgiving) and is expected to exceed 100 entries again and draw hundreds of spectators. The theme is “Christmas Around the World”, is set to step off at 2 pm from the Farmer City Fairgrounds.

The following have been grand marshals of the Farmer City Christmas Parade:

1976 – Rex Minnie

1977 – Doc Hester

1978 – Marshal Jones

1979 – Bob Lewis

1980 – Jake Young

1981 – Orth and Nonie Peithmann

1982 – George and Annetta Stewart

1983 – Father Motsett

1984 – Wallace (Junior) and Clara Belle Lamb

1985 – Maxine Williams

1986 – John and Lillian Overton; Francis and Berniece Hawn

1987 – Delmar Pointer

1988 – Harland and Marie Kimler

1989 – Dewey and Betty Gronau

1990 – George and Francis Dunn

1991 – Tom and Eleanor McConkey

1992 – Ed Gardner

1993 – Roy Brent; Levi and Dorothy Murphey

1994 – Delmar and Clarine Tipsord

1995 – Gene and Mary Helen Holt; Jesse and Donna Hammer

1996 – Richard and Joye Drake

1997 – Jerry Schmitz

1998 – Cora Maynard

1999 – Jim and Mary K Hammer

2000 – Carol Angst

2001 – John Dawson, Eugene Houser, John Overton

2002 – Jim and Eunice Tobin

2003 – Elvin and Julia Belangee

2004 – Marilyn Pointer

2005 – Ralph and Nancy King

2006 – F. Dick and Janice Maxwell

2007 – Jerry and Shirley Beasley

2008 – Mike and Brenda Hendricks

2009 – Mary Lou Luck

2010 – Mary Lou Beggs and Betty Kent

2011 – Bob and Phyllis Hieronymus

2012 – Teri Kelley & Sally Williams

2013 – Ron and Jeanne Vance

2014 – Eugene & Margaret Hoffman

2015 – Rick and Jill Hardesty

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105 S. Main,
Farmer City, IL 61842