There are close to 100 entries ready to go for next weekend’s Christmas in Clinton Parade, the annual event that regularly brings droves of residents from Sampson and surrounding counties to the streets of Clinton as the holiday season is officially ushered in by the entire community.
This year’s edition will be no different, as the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce is once again sponsoring the parade on the second Saturday in December, as has become tradition. This year’s parade is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.
With the towns of Garland and Newton Grove having already rung in the season with their own Christmas parades, the latter on Saturday, the town of Roseboro’s eighth-annual night-time Christmas parade is on tap for 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, and Clinton’s the next morning will round out the series of processions that usher in the holiday.
Janna Bass, executive director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, said there are approximately 90 entries for this year’s parade, however some entries have multiple vehicles. That figure is on par with previous years. Last year, the parade featured 98 entries.
Bass said she was looking forward to seeing the many entries from local civic, church, community and school groups, along with local business and corporate representatives, that would be converging on the downtown as part of Saturday’s event. She said the parade, a mainstay in the community for more than 60 years, is a fun-filled family event meant to get people in the holiday spirit while bringing them to the heart of Sampson’s seat.
“The Christmas in Clinton Parade is truly a staple to our county seat,” said Bass, “and we look forward to another great family fun tradition.”
Among the entrants, there will be professional floats, marching bands, vehicles carrying local officials and pageant queens and princesses, and a bountiful number of walkers. Everything from local businesses and organizations to EMS and fire trucks, dance teams and antique cars will be on display.
The Clinton parade will depart from the Agri-Exposition Center on Warsaw Road leading toward the official starting point at the Old College Street School. The parade will proceed from there through the downtown and around the courthouse on the Vance Street side, continuing down Fayetteville Street before turning left onto Chestnut Street and then making another left onto West Main Street. The caravan of floats, vehicles, marchers and bands will continue down Main Street making a right onto Lisbon Street.
The parade route officially ends at the Clinton City Market on Lisbon. Floats and entries must return to the Agri-Exposition Center to unload, however Bass said the fun does not have to end there. The Clinton City Market is expected to be occupied with Farmer’s Market vendors, with many selling homemade crafts, produce and other wares.
Those attending the parade are also invited to visit with Santa Claus, who will take his place in his house on the courthouse square following the procession.
A new aspect of the parade this year will be a mobile food drive, sponsored by the Clinton Kiwanis Club and local high school Key Clubs, that serves a great benefit to those in need.
“The Kiwanians are going to have a food truck and will have volunteers walking the parade route and collecting canned goods during the parade,” said Bass. “The collected canned food items will go to local food banks and pantries to help during the holiday season. We just encourage spectators to come out and give toward that drive.”
Even if unable to give toward the drive as it moves in and around the parade’s downtown route, canned food may also be donated earlier at Clinton High School and all Sampson County high schools. The Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church parking lot, on Fayetteville Street across from First Citizens Bank, will serve as another drop-off location on the morning of the parade.
Entries will report to the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center at 8 a.m. to register and receive line-up instructions and identification numbers needed in order for entries to be properly announced during the live radio broadcast of the parade by WCLN 1170. The parade will also be aired on TV courtesy of StarVision/Waccamaw Media.
Streets will be blocked off at 9 a.m. and the parade will commence at 10 a.m.
Bass urged everyone to stick around following the parade and maybe get a bite to eat or finish up some Christmas shopping.
“We encourage people to stay around eat downtown, shop downtown and make a day of it,” Bass said. “We just thank the many volunteers and committed business and community leaders that have come together to ensure these community events are a part of Sampson County. It is because of the partnerships and strong attendance, these events are able to continue and grow, and we look forward to another great parade.”
For more information on the parade, call the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce at 910-592-6177, visit www.clintonsampsonchamber.org.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.