By Bob Paslay
The chill in the air, the lights already going up around the area, the stores stocking for presents can mean only one thing Christmas is coming.
And no Christmas would be complete without a Christmas parade and festival.
The 12th annual Holiday at Home parade and Main Street Festival in Jonesboro kicks off the holiday season next Saturday. This year's theme is "Music of the Season."
The parade kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with float judging followed by the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at the Historic Courthouse.
The prizes for the floats include best of parade, best use of theme, most artistic and colorful, best performance, having greatest community impact and having the greatest audience appeal.
Adding to this holiday generating experience, the city of Jonesboro is sponsoring a day-long street festival with food concessions and vendors booths all along Main Street. Following the day's festivities, a street dance will be held after the parade and tree lighting.
Grand marshal for this year's parade is 13th District Congressman David Scott and the honorary grand marshal is Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy.
Besides the colorful floats, the parade will have high school bands playing, vintage cars, community groups and organizations, fire trucks and other public safety equipment.
A special treat will be some special guests who the kids will recognize. Kyle Masse of the Disney Channel's "That's So Raven" and Christopher Massey from "Zoey 101" premiering this January will be on hand along with Sparky, the Fire Dog.
This year's parade is sponsored by Arts Clayton which is also hosting an open house in its new gallery at 136 S. Main St. Jonesboro. The open house will feature local artist demonstrations and "other surprises."
This year's parade begins at the intersection of McDonough Street and Stockbridge Road. It proceeds north to the Confederate Cemetery, crosses the railroad tracks and then turns south along Main Street to the Historic Courthouse.
Applications are available online at www.artsclayton.org for school and community groups wanting to participate or call Arts Clayton at (770) 473-0848.
Those wishing to participate in the all-day street festival by selling food or having a vendor booth can call the city of Jonesboro at (770) 478-3800.