JONESBORO — Who says Christmas can’t come in July?
Jonesboro residents got an early present from their City Council Monday when the governing body decided to take on the responsibility of resurrecting the city’s holiday parade after a four-year hiatus.
Mayor Joy Day asked Council members if they would volunteer to organize the parade, which was previously run by Arts Clayton as Holidays at Home Parade. Wallace Norrington and Pat Sebo volunteered to take on the project while acknowledging they faced an ambitious goal of resurrecting a Christmas parade in four months.
The parade has not been held since 2008 for a number of reasons. For example, Arts Clayton was unable to handle the massive planning needed and the city’s Main Street area was torn up for a year because of the Jonesboro Streetscape project.
“The Christmas parade is something that the citizens have been asking us to bring back,” said Sebo. “They’ve really missed it since it hasn’t been held in a few years.”
The city has decided to hold the parade during the Thanksgiving weekend in conjunction with the lighting of the Christmas tree on the Historic Clayton County Courthouse lawn.
It remains to be seen if the parade will be as big as it was the last time it was held because it used to be held in conjunction with a holiday street festival. Also, city officials are just beginning to plan its return.
“We must not wait too long to decide how we’re going to do this because it’s already mid-July and we’re deciding what to do about holding it,” Day said. However, Sebo, Norrington and other city council members wasted no time brainstorming ideas for parade.
They agreed Councilman Bobby Wiggins should grow his beard out so he can play Santa Claus in the parade. He played Santa last Christmas at a holiday event hosted at the Jonesboro Fire House Museum and Community Center.
A group of council members huddled at their dais after the meeting Monday and debated possible parade routes.
Sebo and Randy Segner suggested starting the parade at the Jonesboro Post Office on North Main Street. It is the same route used for the Fourth of July Parade.
Joe Compton suggested they instead use the longer route that the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade takes through town. It includes Jonesboro’s northern neighborhoods in the parade route.
“Why don’t you start up at Government Circle and come down McDonough Street, cross over the railroad tracks at Johnson Street and then come down Main Street?” Compton said.
His fellow council members agreed to consider the longer route.