The Chamber of Commerce of the Mastics & Shirley’s Christmas parade, one of the area’s major traditions to ring in the holiday season, is turning 50 this year. 

“We are very excited,” said parade committee chair Frank Montanez of FMJ Productions in Center Moriches. “The parade has gotten bigger and bigger. It’s one of the longest-running parades in Suffolk County. Everyone looks forward to doing this every year,” said Montanez, who lives in Manor Park. 

The parade, set for noon on Dec. 1 (rain date Dec. 8), starts at the South Port Shopping Center on Montauk Highway in Shirley and ends at the Mastic firehouse.

Montanez there will be about 16 floats and 60 groups participating, with or five bands performing. 

This year’s grand marshal is Debbie Metz, who runs the Mastic Sports Club Kyle Sports For Special Needs Sports program. The program allows children with disabilities to take part in a variety of sporting activities. 

Additionally, Jeananne Dawson, who served on the William Floyd school board for 40 years, was named a grand marshal of the event. Dawson passed away in September.