December 3, 2013

Christmas parades bring tradition of joy

— It is a gift that has kept on giving for decades, and its magic will be unwrapped once more when the Dalton Noon Lions Club sponsors the annual Christmas parade downtown on Thursday. The club has been the parade sponsor for more than 25 years and it is the organization’s biggest fundraiser.

The parade begins at 6 p.m. at Dalton First Baptist Church, travels east on Waugh Street, then south on Hamilton Street, right on Morris Street to Thornton Avenue, where it will wind north to Harmon Field.

Look for a theme of “Dreams of Christmas.”

Many area residents attend the parade every year, while many residents have been in the parade, either riding on or driving a float, or perhaps as a member of either the Boy and Girl Scouts marching through downtown, becoming part of a tradition.

Among those contributing to this year’s tradition are school bands from Coahulla Creek High School, Dalton High School, Dalton Middle School and “Raider Nation,” a combination of Southeast Whitfield High School’s band and several middle school students who will attend the high school in the coming years.

Also in the spotlight is the grand marshal, Charlie Bowen, a longtime educator and superintendent of Dalton Public Schools, who is being honored after hitting the century mark this year.

It wouldn’t be a Christmas parade without the appearance of Santa Claus, bringing a close to the festivities.

Last year the club signed up 55 to 65 entries and is hoping for more than that this year.

Lions Club members stress that money raised from this event stays in the community and will be used with a focus on eyesight. The club provides funds to buy eye exams and glasses to anyone in need. Recently it contributed iPads to area schools that were adaptable to those with eyesight problems.

If one parade is not enough for you, on Saturday downtown Chatsworth will be lit up for the 24th Annual North Georgia Mountain Christmas Parade, which starts at 6 p.m.

Hosted by the Chatsworth-Eton-Murray County Chamber of Commerce, the theme this year is “Christmas on the Silver Screen.” Parade officials say nearly 50 entries have signed up and Murray County High School’s band will lead the parade. North Murray High School’s band will also march. This year’s grand marshal is Judge Charles Pannell.

The best place to see this parade is along Third Avenue south of Oak Street.

These parades wouldn’t be a success if not for the active involvement and the strong support from the community. So let’s show our support and holiday spirit and be a part of these local traditions by cheering and waving the parades and their participants on from the sidelines.