Small town plans big yule parade

The Mount Pleasant Christmas Celebration stands out as a special day to enjoy the holidays in a small-town setting.

And plenty of activities are scheduled for Saturday.

The festivities begin at 11 a.m. with the big parade down Main Street. According to Troy Barnhardt, Community Events Committee chair, a new feature has been added to the parade this year: a float competition for Mount Pleasant Elementary, Middle and High school students. Clubs and teams have been invited to enter floats; an award will be given to the best float from each school.

Queen Jones, associate minister from Zion Wesley AME Zion Church, will lead off the parade as this year's grand marshal. It will end with the arrival of Santa Claus, driven by Rudolph.

With Troy Barnhardt's help, I was able to speak briefly with Santa by telephone.

He told me he loves coming to Mount Pleasant every year because of the small-town atmosphere and seeing old friends as he rides in the parade. He's also glad he gets to spend some time in town afterward, visiting with children at the Mount Pleasant Fire Department.

Santa said that's the best part of his job: talking with children, whether at an organized event like the one Saturday, or when he bumps into fans in the off-season.

I'm glad I was able to talk with Santa Claus, because he helped me with a question I've always wanted answered: Santa does not shave his beard off for the summer.

You can also stop by the Mount Pleasant Library to make a gingerbread house and take it home. The library will be open until 1:30 p.m.

The Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for an open house featuring a craft and baked goods sale. The museum is celebrating its 30th anniversary with more than 30 decorated trees at the museum, each with its own theme.

For example, the tree in the Military History Room features collectible "GI Joe" action figures, while the tree in the Mount Pleasant History Room has vintage ornaments from Mount Pleasant churches and schools.

While you're at the museum, get your tickets for the Christmas Tour of Homes. Some of the homes on this year's tour were featured in the haunted stories I shared at Halloween, including the Mathias Barrier House, where a dead Union soldier was hidden in the wall. All are in the Mount Pleasant Historic District, and all will be decorated for Christmas.

The big day comes to a close at 5 p.m. with Christmas music and a tree lighting in front of Town Hall. It's going to be a big day in Mount Pleasant for the whole community. Make sure you're part of it.