Santa Claus will kick off the Holiday season at the 27th annual North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade Saturday at 1 p.m. with the help of more than 100 participants.
The parade will begin at the corner of Griffith Street and N. Main Street in Davidson and continue down Main Street to Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius.
Area residents can line both sides of the streets along the route. The roads will close 30 minutes before the parade kicks off.
Wilson Sadler, assistant chief of the Davidson Fire Department and one of the organizers of the event, said that he would encourage area residents to attend the parade.
"There are very many reasons why everybody should come out, but the main one is that it's Christmas time and Santa will be coming down the street," he said. "There'll be a lot of music and a lot of participation from the community."
Sadler said that planning for the parade began in August by members of the Cornelius-Lemley Volunteer Fire Department and the Davidson Fire Department. He said that they get a lot of help from town workers to plan the event and to coordinate the participants on parade day.
Angie Blashaw, Davidson Parks and Recreation's special events and facility reservation supervisor, is one of the people who helps with the parade. Blashaw is in charge of getting participants to register so they can be a part of the event.
Blashaw said that 112 registered participants ranging from nonprofit organizations and local companies to individuals, such as a man who will show off his antique tractors, will make up this year's parade.
"It's a whole range of people from different backgrounds," she said.
Local high school marching bands, fire trucks, floats and performers will all take part in the event, which is one of the oldest holiday traditions in the area.
As that tradition calls for, Santa Claus himself will close out the parade's lineup.
Sadler said that each year the parade has its surprises.
"There is something new every year," he said.
Davidson's grand marshal will be Bill Johnson, member of the town's Board of Commissioners and former director of the Ada Jenkins Center. Sadler said he did not yet know who would be honored for Cornelius.
Organizers said the parade will go on rain or shine.
After the parade, the town of Cornelius is putting on its annual holiday celebration, which begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Cornelius Town Hall.
In addition to having the opportunity to take photos with Santa, people will be able to enjoy cookie decorating and performances by the Cornelius Youth Orchestra as well as a holiday-themed magic show.