Walker Chamber Christmas parade set for Tuesday

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/30/17

The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County will hold its annual countywide Christmas parade on Tuesday, with the deadline to enter the parade set for 4 p.m. Friday.

The parade, which requires no fee to enter and is one of the largest holiday parades in the area, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, with lineup starting as early as 4 p.m.

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Walker Chamber Christmas parade set for Tuesday

Posted

The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County will hold its annual countywide Christmas parade on Tuesday, with the deadline to enter the parade set for 4 p.m. Friday.

The parade, which requires no fee to enter and is one of the largest holiday parades in the area, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, with lineup starting as early as 4 p.m.

The rain date for the parade will be Thursday, Dec. 7, said Linda Lewis, the executive director of the chamber.

Lewis said Wednesday that the parade, held in the county seat of Jasper, could very well be the largest parade seen to date.

“We’re still continuing to get in applications,” Lewis said midday Wednesday. “We’re at 90 now. Between now and Friday, we’re looking at well over 100 entries.”

The countywide parade will be open to bands (with Jasper High School’s band set to play), floats (including some from other municipalities) and, of course, Santa Claus as the grand marshal.

“All floats will line up behind T.R. Simmons (Elementary) School,” she said. “That will become a one-way street. All other vehicles, whether it is antique cars, golf cars, and such will go to the old Walker High School parking lot. Anyone who needs to park their cars to let off children or anything like that which will be on the float needs to go to the bottom (front) parking lot of T.R. Simmons and drop off your children, because cars will not be allowed in the back of T.R. Simmons. That is floats only.

“I ask all the people who are entering floats to be courteous of T.R. Simmons,” she said. “We want all the children to be out of school and gone before the floats start lining up, because you still have school traffic, too. As long as that school traffic is out of the way and gone, floats can start lining up.” 

No horses will be entered in the parade. All small children must be attended by an adult on a float.

Floats will need to go east on 20th Street East as a one-way street to get to T.R. Simmons, she said. They will head in a eastward, counterclockwise direction behind the school to get back onto Viking Drive, where the parade will then turn west toward downtown. (There Viking Drive becomes 19th Street.) The parade will be pausing briefly at the Jasper Civic Center and at the courthouse square. Then the parade will turn right onto Sixth Avenue onto 18th Street, travelling back to the old Walker High School parking lot.

Jasper Police Department will close off Viking Drive for the parade, possibly at 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. at the top of the hill near the new high school complex. “With over 100 entries, we’re going to have to start lining them up on Viking to allow more room behind T.R. Simmons,” she said.

“One thing I would really like to emphasize is safety,” Lewis said. “We have volunteers but everybody needs to be alert of the floats. We ask that parents watch their children and don’t let them venture out into the street. I know a lot of people pass out candy, but watch their children. Take heed of what the police department says. Listen to the police. They are there to assist and help everybody. Just be aware that safety is the number one component we think of during the Christmas parade. With this many entries, with children on the floats and people walking beside the floats, just be very careful.”

She asked people to stay on the sidewalks and not to venture out into the road. Doing so makes it harder for the police to handle crowd control, Lewis said.

Lewis said Santa Claus will be at the chamber at the Jasper Civic Center from 4-6 p.m. Children and parents can meet him for free, getting candy canes, having children sit on his lap and, using the parents’ cameras, having their photo taken with him. Santa will have to leave at 6 p.m. to get his place in the parade. No live duplicate Santas will be allowed on floats.

Participants are asked not to throw candy, but to instead walk beside the parade and hand it out, she said. “That way (the children) won’t venture out in the road,” she said.

While Jasper’s local high school band will perform, the county chamber is wanting participation from other bands.

“Any band from any high school or any junior high school within Walker County, we would love to have them participate. Have them call me up. This is a countywide parade, so we invite all bands who would love to participate. People love to hear that Christmas music,” Lewis said.

Awards will be given for first-, second-, third- and honorable mention for several categories, including Business, Children, Non-profit, Government and Antique Cars. Floats will be judged on creativity, originality and theme.

The Daily Mountain Eagle will provide a live feed of the parade on its Facebook page. Other online outlets, including some from the City of Jasper and Margaret and Larry Lee, will provide live feeds as well.

She also encouraged anyone with any questions to call the chamber at 205-384-4571 or come by the chamber office at the Jasper Civic Center. Lewis’ email address is linda@walkerchamber.us.