It’s time to light the trees, welcome the parades

Published 8:06 am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not many counties in the rural South have multiple Christmas parades but Pike County can boast of three, so the week after Thanksgiving is Christmas Parade Week in Pike County.

On Monday night, Troy will host “A Storybook Christmas” parade. On Tuesday, Brundidge’s annual “Mayberry USA” parade will meander down Main Street and, on Friday night, Goshen will usher in the Christmas season with its “Christmas for a Cause” parade.

The Troy Christmas Parade will have a “Storybook” theme and will be a tie-in to the city’s official Christmas tree on the downtown square. The “A Storybook Christmas” theme was chosen to promote literacy.

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“So, instead of having one Christmas tree, we’ll have six and each tree with carry out the ‘Storybook’ theme,” said Catherine Jordan, tourism and public relations administrative assistant. “The ‘storybook’ trees will be ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ ‘The Polar Express,’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman.’”

Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras to take photos of their children at the “storybook” trees and with Santa.

The parade will begin at 6 p.m. Monday and follow a route around the downtown square. The “A Storybook Christmas” theme will be carried out by many of the parade entries. Santa Claus has made special arrangements to come all the way from the North Pole to Troy just to visit with all the good little boys and girls in the area.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford will light the Christmas trees, an event that signals the 2011 Christmas season has officially begun.

The four Christmas Parade grand marshals, chosen from each of the city’s elementary schools, will join the mayor for the tree lighting ceremony. Mya Richardson, Troy Elementary School; Michael Vaughn, New Life Christian Academy; Gavin Wade, Covenant Christian School; and Katie Wilkins, Pike Liberal Arts will do the honors.

Mrs. Santa Claus will join Santa at the parade and will read “The Night Before Christmas” to the children who cluster around that special Christmas “story” tree after the parade.

Lamar Steed, chair of the Brundidge Business Association’s parade committee, said the city’s historic Christmas decorations are in place and, at 6 p.m. Tuesday night, Mayor Jimmy Ramage will flip the switch and the same Christmas lights that have made the season merry and bright for nearly 60 years will once again light the way for the ushering in of the Christmas season.

“We have an exciting Christmas night planned with a parade of about 40 entries that include the Troy University Pep Band, our own Pride of Pike Marching Band and the Zion Chapel Marching Band. And, of course, Santa Claus will arrive as he has for so many years riding on the city’s big red fire truck.”

The lineup for the parade is at the National Guard Armory at 5:30 and Steed said that it’s not too late to enter. Just call 334-735-2306.

The Troy University Pep Band will entertain the gathering crowd of parade watchers from 5:30 to 6 p.m. at City Hall, a.k.a. the Bass House and again following the program on the steps of City Hall.

After the parade, Susie Hastey will read “The Night Before Christmas” for the young and the young at heart and Lenny Trawick will lead the singing of the songs of Christmas.

The Goshen Christmas Parade is set for Friday night at 6 p.m. and the theme for the parade is “Christmas for a Cause.”

Carter Sanders, parade coordinator, said the Pike County Salvation Army and other service organizations have been invited to participate in the parade.

“Other entries will contribute to the theme as well,” Sanders said. “Pre-registration is not required. Just come to the back of the high school and someone will line you up.”

Tradition almost “requires” a camp stew supper at the Goshen Christmas Parade.

“We will start serving camp stew at 5 p.m. at Town Hall so you can eat before and after/or after the parade,” Sanders said. “We will also have camp stew for sale. The plates are $7 and include all the trimmings and dessert. Quarts are $8 each.”

The Goshen Seniors will have homemade cakes for sale and there will also be a drawing for the Seniors’ handmade quilt. Raffle tickets may be purchased at Goshen Town Hall.

Following the parade everyone is encouraged to stay around and enjoy the camp stew supper and play Bingo at Town Hall.

There are three opportunities in Pike County this week to celebrate the coming of Christmas with parades and related activities. Each will be unique to its community but special to all who attend.