BLADENBORO — One of the area’s biggest events is set to take place this weekend with the annual Bladenboro Christmas Parade.
A regional favorite, the Bladenboro Christmas parade is in its 44th year, and organizers are hoping it’s the best ever.
“We keep getting calls, and it’s looking like it’s going to be a really great year,” said Jane Walters, adding, “Our town and merchants have always been really good about supporting us.”
Saturday morning, the quiet town of Bladenboro will be filled with color, music, and the general merriment of the Christmas season as parade participants make their way through the 1½-mile parade route. Parade participants should begin lining up Saturday morning no later than 9:30 a.m. The queue will begin in the Fresh Foods Parking lot and snake down both sides of Village Street.
Promptly at 10:30 a.m., the group will enter Seaboard Street and head east, continuing through the downtown section of Bladenboro. Paraders will make a right at Main Street and head south, concluding at Bladenboro Middle School.
Event organizer Amanda Sykes said they are expecting around 100 entries this year. Last year’s 90 entries took about one hour to parade by.
Charles Ray Peterson will serve as the grand marshal of the parade. The Bladen Community College director of customized training and Bladenboro resident currently serves as chairman of the Bladen CountyBoard of Commissioner, a distinction he has held several times over his tenure in political service. In addition, he serves on the Boost the ‘Boro Committee, a group dedicated to improving the community and the lives of Bladenboro residents.
“Charles Ray has done so much for Bladenboro and for the county,” said Sykes.
The day will be filled with feasts for the eyes and ears. High schools bands and local singing groups such as Mulligan Music, Glory Bound, and the Glad Trio — many of whom stop along the parade route to entertain folks — will be getting people in the holiday spirit with songs like Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Gloria. Dance groups and twirlers will join in the revelry.
The Sudan Tom Cats and Spinners will be delighting the crowd with their miniature car choreography, which will be followed by classic full-size cars and trucks from area car clubs. Pageant and festival queens, elected officials, horses decked out with Christmas bells and bright red dressage, farm tractors, sharp drill units, emergency vehicles, and church, civic, and business floats will be tossing candy to bystanders along the parade route. Youngsters are encouraged to bring bags, boxes, or pouches for collecting all the goodies that will be tossed their way. Always a hit at Bladenboro events, the Beast of Bladenboro will make a showing during the parade.
Bringing up the rear, of course, will be Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be making their way through Bladenboro on a sleigh pulled by reindeer.
“We just enjoy it so much when we come into town and see people smiling and see all the children,” Walters commented. “It’s just a good time. We hope to see you there.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.