Bands, floats and fire trucks will stretch out for a mile along N.C. 16 during Denver's first Christmas parade on Dec. 5.
The parade, sponsored by the East Lincoln Betterment Association and Lincoln County, will begin at 2:30 p.m. at Westlake Office Park and move north along the closed-off section of highway to the Denver Days grounds at Triangle Circle.
More than 50 units have signed up to participate, from high school bands to businesses with floats, neighborhood groups, beauty queens and veterans, according to Maeneen Klein, parade chairwoman and president of ELBA until she stepped down to run the parade.
East Lincoln Betterment Association is a nonprofit volunteer organization working to improve the quality of life for residents of Lincoln County by educating the public on issues and concerns.
The theme of the event is "A Parade of Trees," emphasizing Christmas trees in the decorations.
"We've been wanting to have a parade for a long time," said Klein.
The time wasn't right until the section of new N.C. 16 opened about a mile west of the original highway, providing a bypass around the parade route.
The parade marshal will be Joe Turbyfill, whose name is synonymous with Denver, Klein said. Turbyfill owns Turbyfill True Value Hardware on N.C. 16 north.
At the end of the parade, Santa will arrive on an East Lincoln Fire Department truck and will be accompanied by the East Lincoln High School marching band.
There will be drop-off only at Westlake Office Park, the staging area, which is about one-fourth mile north of N.C. 73.
There is space along the parade route where people can park and make an afternoon of it, Klein said.
"There are a lot of opportunities along the route for tailgating," she said.
Viewers can take chairs or blankets and settle in at grassy stretches or in the parking lots of several businesses. There also will be ample parking at the Denver Days grounds.
After the parade, there will be a community Christmas tree lighting, at about 4 p.m., at the Denver Days grounds, where the tree can be seen from the highway. There also will be a decorated mailbox where children can leave letters to Santa.
The late-afternoon festivities include a singalong and awards for parade units in several categories.
Parade sponsors can set up a table at the grounds, too.
Klein said they have been encouraged to avoid doing anything commercial but may give away items. For instance, Sports Page restaurant has said it will provide free hot chocolate to visitors.
Although sign-up time for parade entries has closed, Klein said volunteers are needed to work as marshals, helping to coordinate along the parade route.
For information, contact Klein at email@example.com or 704-820-3980.
Also on Dec. 5, Holy Spirit Catholic Church at 537 N.C. 16 N. will have an arts and crafts fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some 35 crafters are expected to participate.
Visitors can find purses, candles, baby items, soaps, glass etching, dolls, wood products, greeting cards, quilted items and foods.