Santa-inspired baton twirlers march the 2008 Christmas parade in Jonesboro. The city is re-launching the parade this year after a hiatus of a few years, and officials are seeking participants for the event.
JONESBORO Jolly Old Saint Nick will visit Jonesboro in November for a newly revived Christmas parade, but city officials are still trying to find the elves and reindeer.
The city is seeking craft and food vendors, as well as groups, bands and individuals who want to participate in the parade and an associated festival, said City Councilwoman Pat Sebo.
After all, how can a parade have Santa Claus without including assistants to help children make crafts? How can it also not have a long preceding train of entertainers to figuratively pull his metaphorical sleigh?
“We’re looking for more participants in the parade,” said Sebo. “We’ve already got some of the bands from the high schools who have agreed to participate, but we still need more people, organizations, high school bands and churches to sign up for the parade.”
The parade will take place Nov. 17, beginning at 4:30 p.m., on Jonesboro’s Main Street. This will mark the first time in three years Jonesboro has hosted a Christmas parade. It used to be a yearly tradition for the city, under the stewardship of Arts Clayton, but it hasn’t been held since 2009.
Jonesboro leaders decided this year to resurrect the parade after receiving numerous requests from residents, who wanted to see it return.
“They have been talking about this for a while,” said Sebo. “We didn’t have it for awhile because we were working on Streetscape [on Main Street], but we’ve finished work on Phase I and the residents wanted to see the parade come back because they missed it.”
In the past, there was an entire festival-like atmosphere built around the parade, with street vendors selling food and crafts, and offering craft-making opportunities.
The capstone event was the lighting of the city’s giant Christmas tree on the lawn of the Historic Clayton County Courthouse.
The plan is to recapture that atmosphere for this year’s parade. No groups trying to make political and social statements or companies trying to solicit business will be allowed in the parade because it is intended to be a family entertainment event, said Sebo.
“It’s not about making political or social statements,” said Sebo. “It’s just about the holidays, and that’s the way it should be.”
Craft and food vendors will be asked to pay $25 to reserve a spot along Main Street, but there is no fee to participate in the parade. People interested in participating in the festivities should drop by Jonesboro City Hall, located at 124 North Ave., in Jonesboro, or call 770-478-3800 to receive an application. The applications are also available on the city’s web site, www.jonesboroga.com/.
Completed applications should be returned to city hall, and addressed to Sebo.