A nondenominational celebration of the coming of Christ, the parade features hundreds of children dressed as angels and shepherds, a flock of sheep, wisemen on horseback and dozens of star lantern bearers all following the holy family on a walk along Erwin’s luminary lined Main Avenue to a manger scene outside First Baptist Church on Love Street.
The event concludes with a short non-denominational, outdoor worship service featuring music by a brass ensemble form Unicoi County High School, a reading of the Christmas story from the second chapter of Luke and a community singing of traditional Christmas hymns.
With fair weather forecast for the night of the parade, RISE Erwin President Jamie Rice said the event is expected to attract several thousand people, including a number of Johnson City churches that are planning to bring their youth groups and choirs.
While rain forced the event indoors at First Baptist last year, an estimated crowd of 2,000 people took part in the town’s inaugural Nativity Parade in 2016.
Those who wish to march in the parade are encouraged to wear angel or shepherd costumes and to arrive at the post office parking lot at Main Avenue and Tucker Street no later than 6:30 p.m.
Spectators are invited to follow the procession to the church and to join the parade participants in the singing Christmas carols along the way. And everyone is encouraged to bring a small white candle or lantern to help fill the streets and nativity scene with light.
“We’re looking for hundreds of angels, shepherds and carolers of all ages who are willing to spread love and light to our entire town,” Rice said.
More information about the parade may be obtained by messaging RISE Erwin on Facebook or by calling Rice at 423-220-7624.