For 60 years, a caravan of people representing local businesses, organizations, schools and other groups have come together each year to mark the Christmas season and spread a little cheer by way of Clinton’s annual Christmas parade. This year is no different, as more than 100 entrants are poised to travel in and around the city’s downtown to numerous spectators.
Janna Bass, executive director for the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, said officials with the Chamber, which organizes the event, are excited about the annual event. The parade is slated for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 8.
“We’re looking forward to a great parade,” said Bass. “We have a little over 100 entries, everything from local businesses and organizations to EMS and fire trucks, dance teams and antique cars.”
The line-up begins at 8 a.m. at the Sampson County Exposition Center. All traffic along the parade route will be blocked off at 9 a.m. The route will remain the same as it has in years past, Bass said.
The parade starting point will be at the Clinton City Schools Administrative Offices (Old College Street School), with the route to extend through the downtown and around the courthouse on the Vance Street side. The procession will continue down Fayetteville Street, turning left onto Chestnut Street and then left onto West Main Street, extending down that street before making a right onto Lisbon and ending at the Clinton City Market.
Floats and entries will continue on to the Exposition Center.
Bass said this year’s Christmas parade will be her first as part of the Chamber — she was hired at the beginning of this year — however, the parade has been held for six decades. She said the annual parade, held on the second Saturday every December, is a way for families to gather as a community and enjoy a good time.
“This is the 60th year of this parade,” she said. “The Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce is honored to be a part of this community event. It’s a family fun festive event that we hope has become a tradition and a staple to the holiday season.”
That tradition does not come without a fair share of work beforehand, and Bass said she was thankful to those who have assisted in bringing another fun event to fruition locally.
“There are so many different logistics and behind the scenes that take place in order for a community parade to happen and we thank each of those that are involved in any area,” said Bass. “Without (them), this event would not be possible.”
While the ultimate focus is family fun in a community-wide celebration, the goal is two-fold, as Chamber officials hope that families will stick around after the parade and visit some of the local businesses for some Christmas shopping, or a bite to eat.
“From a Chamber perspective, I’m just really excited about it,” said Bass. “It’s a fun event and we’re looking forward to bringing people to downtown Clinton and get them to have fun and maybe visit some of our local businesses. It emphasizes again that ‘Buy Local First’ that supports our community. We’re excited to be a part of that.”
“We look forward to another great Christmas in Clinton parade and a tradition that will continue for many years to come.”
The Clinton Christmas parade is sandwiched between two other Christmas processions being held in the county, one this weekend and another the weekend following the Clinton event.
Newton Grove will hold its Christmas parade this Saturday, Dec. 1, starting at 10 a.m. The Roseboro Christmas parade is on tap for 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Roseboro town officials said entries are still being accepted for the Dec. 14 event.
There are currently about 60 entries and the application deadline is Dec. 10, said town finance officer Sharon Williams.” Santa Claus will be also be at the depot (within the town park) the next two Saturdays, from 2 to 4 p.m, leading up to the parade, she said.
As Bass did for the Clinton event, Williams similarly urged county residents to come out and experience the Roseboro Christmas Parade, one she said that involves “just good folks.” It is also a night, offering a contrast from morning parades and a way to show off some dazzling light displays.
“This parade is at night, unlike most, and you are able to see the town’s lights and get a unique feel of Christmas,” Williams said. “We have had great turnouts over the past few years and the event just continues to grow.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.