By Ashley Rader
This year’s Christmas parade will not only be a “rocking” good time, but will also help various non-profit agencies in Carter County.
The theme for the parade will be “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” and all proceeds from the entry fees will be donated to the Elizabethton/Carter County United Way. The parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 1, beginning at 6 p.m.
“It is a fun theme,” said Tonya Stevens, Chamber of Commerce director. “Groups will be able to play around with it when decorating their floats and do a lot with their decorations.”
Stevens said the partnership between the chamber and the United Way was an opportunity to provide assistance to a large portion of the Carter County community and to spread awareness about the services the United Way provides for Carter County.
“While the community comes out to enjoy the festivities of the annual parade, it will be a great way to raise awareness about the United Way,” Stevens said. “Since all the proceeds from the parade will be going to the United Way, the community will be giving back while coming out and having a fun time.”
The chamber has received 38 entries for the parade. Stevens encouraged all interested groups or businesses to submit their applications to participate.
“The more people who take part, the more people we will be able to help,” she said.
In the past, the chamber had split the proceeds from the Christmas parade with the Angel Tree program and efforts to boost membership in the chamber. Events and Marketing Coordinator Stephanie McKinney said the change was made in an effort by the chamber to reach out to a larger portion of the Carter County community.
“It is a way for us to better our community and to come together,” McKinney said.
Stevens said chamber staff started thinking of ways to work with the United Way after receiving the donation packets that were distributed earlier in the year. They decided to contribute the proceeds beyond expenses from the parade to the United Way’s campaign.
“We felt it was a great way to contribute to the campaign,” she said. “It will benefit nine agencies that work in Carter County. It gives a broader scope for the citizens we can assist with the funds.”
Applications will be accepted until the end of the business day Monday, Nov. 26. The entry fees are $40 for judged for-profit organizations, $30 for judged non-profit organizations and $20 for all non-judged entries. Floats will be judged in four categories; commercial, industrial, church and service. Winners will receive a medal and a certificate and will have a banner recognizing the win in the parade.
A requirement for the parade participants this year is that no candy or other items be thrown from the floats or vehicles. Stevens said anything distributed from the floats must be handed from the individual in the parade to the spectator.
“We want everyone to have a good time and to enjoy themselves and we want everyone to stay safe,” she said. “We also ask that parents or guardians keep their children behind the barricades.”
The Downtown Business Association will host its Open House on the day of the parade from 10 a.m. until before the parade begins.
Stevens noted the streets would be closed at 4:30 p.m., but that there was ample public parking and the shops were easily accessible.
Applications for parade floats can be picked up at the chamber or are available on the chamber’s website, www.elizabethtonchamber.com.