2012-08-02 / Front Page

Planning for Christmas Parade of Lights already well underway, committee says

news editor

After the success of the 2011 Christmas Parade of Lights, plans are already underway for this year’s parade. After the success of the 2011 Christmas Parade of Lights, plans are already underway for this year’s parade. Is August a little early to start thinking about Washington’s annual Christmas Parade of Lights?

Not at all. The organizing committee for the 2012 annual Christmas Parade of Lights has been meeting monthly since the beginning of the year, and now they’re ready to put out the call for entries.

This year’s parade is set for Saturday, December 8, at 6 p.m., and the entry deadline is November 17. Entries will fall into the following categories: non-profit, industry, business professional, and schools and youth groups. The entry fee is $10, and there will be prizes for first, second, and third places.

“Last year we had 45 entries, but this year we’re aiming for 75 entries,” said committee member C. Carol Cartledge. “We’re expecting many more lighted floats, and we hope to get more bands participating.”

Although there has been an annual Christmas parade for years, for 2011 the parade became a nighttime Parade of Lights set in conjunction with the Christmas Tour of Homes and a Candlelight Shopping on The Square event. The resulting turnout was far greater than in years past, and many entrants started planning improvements to their lighted floats the very next day.

Grand marshal for the 2012 Christmas Parade of Lights will be Louise Maynard. She was chosen by a vote of the committee, including co-chairmen Blake Thompson and Pete Gartrell, and members Tawana Binns, Robin Booker, Frank Gaye, Lisa Hampton, Carolyn Harper, Irene Wilkinson, Joyce Williams, and Joe Willis.

Judges will include former Augusta

Mayor Bob Young, Suzanne Norman, and Rev. Reginald Hunter.

Maynard was chosen as grand marshal, Cartledge said, for her longtime support of tourism, support of downtown and the Washington- Wilkes Chamber of Commerce, and for years of being a driving force for many events and activities ranging from antique and craft shows and outdoor dramas, to organizing former Mayor Willie Burns’ inaugural ball. “We can only begin to list all the things Louise Maynard has done for the Washington-Wilkes community,” Cartledge said. “As her health is declining, it is time she was recognized for all those efforts as the grand marshal of the 2012 Christmas Parade of Lights.”

The committee is offering sponsorships for the parade. For $150, sponsors will be recognized on signage and will get preferred seating on The Square.

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