Angie Brown’s favorite part of the Maryville Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade is seeing children experience something she didn’t get to do as a child.
“To me my favorite part of the parade is to be on the last float right before Sanitation Santa and throwing candy to the kids,” the parade co-chair said. “I remember going to Christmas parades as a kid. We didn’t get candy.”
This year, candy isn’t the only thing being tossed into the crows. “This year we’ve added something a little bit different,” said Brown. “We’re taking donations for stuffed animals, and we’ll throw out stuffed animals with the candy. Kids along the parade route may be lucky enough to get one. That’s something unique.”
The 2008 Maryville Alcoa Jaycees Christmas parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 13. The theme for this year’s parade is “Your Christmas Story.” The parade starts at 11 a.m. and begins on Joule Street in Alcoa and crosses Calderwood Street into New Midland Plaza. It then goes through Midland Plaza and turns right onto North Cusick Street. At the top of the hill, the procession turns right onto West Broadway Avenue and continues straight through downtown Maryville. At the intersection of West Broadway Avenue and West Lamar Alexander Parkway, it turns right and ends in the parking lot of New Providence Presbyterian Church.
The grand marshal for this year’s parade is John Clark, the United States Jaycees national historian. Clark, who is from Oak Ridge, wrote a book about the history of the U.S. Jaycees.
This is the first year Brown and co-chair Chrissy Wells have chaired the annual Christmas parade. A 10-year member of Jaycees, she organized many of the events in Decatur while with their group, served as a Maryville Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade judge for three years while living in Sevier County when she was president of the state Jaycees. After moving to Blount County, she became active in the Maryville Alcoa Jaycees.
It was in Decatur that she first saw stuffed animals thrown out with candy during a Jaycees Christmas parade. Organizers thought it would be a good addition to the Maryville Alcoa parade. “I tossed them out in the Decatur parade, and the kids loved it,” she said.
Brown said she’s been collecting stuffed animals since July. “I’d say we’ll have about 2,000 stuff animals,” she said.
Brown said the Jaycees are looking for more entries for this year’s parade. “We probably have about 30 to 35 entries, and we need many more,” she said.
As of Nov. 24, 15 floats were registered for the parade along with 12 four wheelers and a couple of antique cars. “We have no horses yet and there lot of things that were in last year that haven’t registered yet. Deadline is Friday, Nov. 28,” she said, adding that after Nov. 28, prospective parade participants have until Dec. 5 to sign up, but they have to pay a $10 late fee.
Those interested in having a float or participating in the parade can contact the Maryville Alcoa Jaycees at email@example.com.
For members of the Maryville Alcoa Jaycees, the annual Christmas parade wraps up a year of activities for the group. The group organizes the Junior Miss program, a basketball tournament at Alcoa Middle School for sixth and seventh graders, Easter activities, Fourth of July activities, Junior Miss activities and work concessions at home University of Tennessee football games. They close out the year helping deliver baskets as part of the Empty Pantry Fund.
But the Christmas parade has a special place in Brown’s heart. “To me, it wraps up everything we do all year. It’s the big thing to end the whole year. It brings it all back full circle,” she said.
Brown said one fun part of the parade for her is before it ever begins when the Jaycees gather at Midland Restaurant for breakfast. “We say, ‘O.K. guys this is what we’ve got to accomplish. Let’s work as a team.’ It’s like being in a big extended family.”
Sponsors for the 2008 Maryville Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade include New Midland Plaza, United Grocery Outlet, Food City, Kroger, Big Lots and the Maryville Alcoa Jaycee. Applications for the parade can be picked up at the customer service desk at Wal-Mart, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, the Daily Times and the Blount County Library.
Brown encouraged anyone interested in becoming a member of the Maryville Alcoa Jaycees to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group meets at Alcoa Middle School at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Because of the activities during the holidays, their next scheduled meeting is in January.
“It’s like family. It’s awesome to be able to be in an organization that has helped so much,” she said. “It makes good leaders out of people and makes you realize there’s more to life than just take, take, take. It’s not always a dog-eat-dog world.”
Townsend Christmas Parade
The theme for the Townsend Christmas Parade this year is “ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The parade is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7.
Line up begins a 1 p.m. at Nawger Nob at 7747 East Lamar Alexander Parkway and ends at Little River Railroad at 7327 East Lamar Alexander Parkway. The parade route is 1.2 miles long.
There is no entry fee for the parade, but individuals must fill out an entry form.
The categories for judging include Large Float, Small Float and Horse or Pony and Rider. The Small Float category includes motorcycles, golf carts, tractors, automobiles, horse-drawn vehicles or decorated four-wheelers.
Prize amounts include: for the Large Float Division - first place is $100, second place is $75 and third place is $50. For the Small Float Division - first place is $50, second place is $35 and third place is $15. For the Horse and Pony Division - first place is $35, second place is $25 and third place is $15.
Entry forms can be picked up at City Hall at 133 Tiger Drive, at the Mary E. Tippett Library on Tiger Driver or by calling 865-448-6886.
Rockford Christmas Parade
The Rockford Christmas parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, with a rain date of Dec. 14.
Line up is between 1 and 2 p.m. at the Little Brook Industrial Park. The parade starts at 2 p.m. Anybody is welcome participate and there’s no cost to enter the parade. Call Terry Willett at 865-970-9665 to sign up.