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|Friday Christmas parade to light up Winnsboro|
Friday's annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade promises to light up the streets and the sky as the annual nighttime parade rolls through downtown Winnsboro.
The December 5th parade will bring thousands of visitors to the parish, which is what the Chamber of Commerce had in mind when the parade was switched to a nighttime event in 2003.
"If we have good weather, then I would certainly expect a big turnout," said parade co-chair Paul Price Jr. "We have a total of nineteen floats committed for this year's event, which is an increase from thirteen last year."
"Anyone who's ever been involved in the construction of a float knows the work that goes into it," Price said. "We appreciate those businesses, groups, and other entities who help make the parade such a great attraction for those attending, particularly the younger children."
This year's Grand Marshal will be members of the McLemore Family, who were awarded the Chamber's Spirit Award earlier this year for their longtime contributions to Franklin Parish.
According to family spokesman, the McLemores have constructed a float featuring live carolers comprised of members of the family. The float will also salute the family's former grocery store chain known to many throughout north Louisiana as "Jitney Jungle".
"Normally, the grand marshal will ride in a convertible, but since there were so many family members wanting to participate, they went ahead and built a float," Price said. "Plus, there are many other churches, non-profits, and businesses that have gone the extra mile to make this year's parade lineup one of the best yet."
Price noted that a number of elected officials from throughout the parish will be participating, and a good contingent of antique cars from throughout the area will be entered in a friendly "best dressed" competition.
The parade will line up on Fair Avenue in Winnsboro and begin at 7 p.m. As usual, the parade will follow the traditional parade route through Winnsboro, and Craig Gill will again handle the announcing duties from the gazebo across from Winnsboro City Hall.
In addition, a number of groups will be offering hot food and hot drinks at various points along the parade route.
Immediately following the parade, a holiday fireworks spectacular will be staged by Pyrotechnico, an internationally-acclaimed fireworks company. The show will be staged from the centerfield area at Dickey Field in Winnsboro.
"The fireworks won't begin until the last float has safely made it by ballpark so, depending where you are, there may be some time between the end of the parade and the beginning of the fireworks show," said parade co-chair Noble Ellington III.
This year's fireworks show is sponsored by Interstate Buick-Pontiac-GMC and the Franklin Parish Catfish Festival.
"We do appreciate these sponsors stepping up this year," Ellington said.
"This is a great way to end a parade and usher in the holiday season in Franklin Parish."
Chamber President Kevin Cobb praised the efforts of the volunteers who work together to make this and the other Chamber holiday events so successful, and cited their significance to the parish.
"Events such as these sponsored by the Chamber are important to our community, and bring thousands to Franklin Parish each year," Cobb said. "Our retail stores and restaurants will be very busy, which will certainly help our merchants during these very uncertain times."