ERWIN — Christmas is coming earlier for parade enthusiasts as the towns of Erwin and Unicoi will kick off the holiday season Saturday as each town holds its annual Christmas parade.
The town of Erwin will continue a decades-long tradition when its annual Christmas parade gets under way at 10:30 a.m. The parade once again is sponsored and coordinated by the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce.
The parade will begin at the Erwin Village Shopping Center located along North Main Avenue, continue along North Main through downtown and will conclude at the Erwin Utilities building on Love Street.
Chamber Executive Director Amanda Delp said the parade will feature around a dozen professionally-made floats from North Carolina-based Cline’s Floats and a number of handmade floats from local churches and civic organizations. Candy will be thrown to onlookers from the passing floats and vehicles. The parade also will include horses and a finale featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“Everyone is usually very pleased with the parade,” Delp said. “Most of the comments we get pertain to the horses. We’re one of the few parades in the region that still allow horses in the parade. We also get a lot of feedback about how well organized and laid out the parade is. One thing we try to do is make sure that there are no huge gaps in the parade.”
Attendees of the Erwin Christmas Parade are also invited out to the town of Unicoi’s second annual Christmas Parade, which will begin near the U.S. Forest Service office along Unicoi Drive at 2 p.m.
The parade will travel down Unicoi Drive, down Tennessee Street, and will end just past Unicoi Elementary School near the Ruritan shed on Massachusetts Avenue.
David Browning, who portrays the Mayberry Deputy, once again will serve as the parade’s grand marshal. The parade also will feature recently-crowned Miss Kingsport Dakota Reynolds, who is a Unicoi native, and Unicoi’s unofficial mascot, Mary the Cow.
The parade also is set to feature the Unicoi County High School band, the Watauga Valley Drum and Fife Corps, Rolling Thunder, the Unicoi County Shrine Club and floats by local civic organizations.
Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said the parade was a hit in its first year and a good way to mark the start of the holiday season.
“People loved it,” he said. “That’s why we’re doing it again. As long as people like it, we’ll keep doing it.”