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Jose N. Lopez, of the Inlet section of Atlantic City, works on the city's holiday decorations Wednesday at Virginia and Pacific avenues.

Danny Drake

Atlantic City’s holiday parade returns to the resort Saturday, kicking off a nearly $600,000 month-long celebration that is the resort’s most coordinated in memory.

The 19-block procession starts at noon at New Hampshire Avenue. The lineup features more than 60 units, including 13 floats and multiple live bands. Miss New Jersey Lindsey Petrosh and Miss Atlantic City Aliyah Montague will appear along with Santa Claus, introduced by a procession of more than 200 children representing Atlantic City elementary school sports teams and cheerleading squads.

The Atlantic City Alliance and Casino Reinvestment Development Authority are resurrecting the event as of part of a citywide flurry of holiday events, lights and decorations that will cost $595,000, which includes the $11,400 spent on the parade, CRDA Community Outreach Coordinator Ali Reynolds said Thursday.

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Formerly a spectacle consisting of dozens of floats, the parade lost funding in 1990 when controversy erupted over the true residency of Miss Atlantic City, alleged then to be from Ventnor.

Other parades have been held in years since, but none reached the past events’ caliber nor re-established a consistent tradition. Officials hope this year succeeds where those past attempts have not.

After the parade’s conclusion at Michigan Avenue, Tanger Outlets, The Walk will serve hot chocolate for parade participants and observers at Starbucks Plaza at the outdoor shopping mall.

Mayor Lorenzo Langford and Councilmen Marty Small, Aaron “Sporty” Randolph and Frank Gilliam will march, according to a lineup provided by parade coordinator Jazmyn Rivera.

The parade also will feature units inspired by area landmarks such as Lucy the Elephant.

In preparation, workers from the CRDA’s Special Improvement Division decorated a 35-foot Christmas tree, donated by Tanger, at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway.

They also have adorned light poles with candy canes along Atlantic Avenue and shooting stars along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and put up holiday displays — including a large decorated tree, brightly lit hardwood trees and a 25-foot holiday greeting sign — at O’Donnell and Center City parks, according to a CRDA statement released Thursday.

Anyone who arrives at The Wave parking garage before 10 a.m. can park for free Saturday, according to the statement.

Free parking will also be available at New Hampshire and Atlantic avenues near the parade staging area.

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