Marching into the holidays

Christmas parades make season festive in Blount

The holidays are here, and, in Blount County, that means Christmas parades. We’re not sure it’s time to contact the Guinness Book for a world record check, but there is no doubt that the folks in East Tennessee and specifically Blount County love a parade!

Young and old will line streets in communities throughout the area to cheer as marching bands, scouts, pageant winners, public servants, horses, school children and elected officials walking or ride parade routes.

Participants making their way down thoroughfares on four-wheelers or on horse back…all there to celebrate the season.

Below are a sampling of the some of the parades coming to the area scheduled for Maryville, Alcoa, Rockford, Friendsville, Greenback and Townsend. And if you are a parade lover, Saturday, Dec. 12, is your day to shine. Out of the five parades in Blount County, four of them at on Dec. 12.

Townsend Christmas Parade

Sunday, December 6

This year’s Annual Townsend Community Christmas Parade will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 2:30 p.m. The parade’s theme is “A Patriotic Christmas - Celebrating Our Gift of Freedom.” Parade Marshals will be veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the field next to the Visitor Center on East Lamar Alexander Parkway. Line up will begin at 1 p.m. The gate to the line-up field will open at 10 a.m. The parade will proceed south on East Lamar Alexander Parkway and end at the Nawger Nob Craft Settlement.

City Recorder Shelia Moss said the parade route runs in reverse from the way it did in the 2008 parade. “We’re doing it differently. Last year it was from Nawger Nob to Little River Railroad Museum. This year starting at the field beside the Townsend Visitor’s Center, which adds about half a mile to the route, and we’ll end at Nawger Nob,” she said.

The move makes it easier to line up participants and to ensure everyone has filed out entry forms. The change also ensures participants are lining up in the same place. “It keeps everyone off the road and line up will be easier. Last year we had cars, four-wheelers and tractors on one side and emergency vehicles and horses on the opposite,” she said.

Moss said the Townsend Christmas Parade continues to be a popular draw to the area. “I think everyone here in the community really enjoys the parade,” she said.

David Wietlisbach is coordinator, and Mary Newman is assistant coordinator for the annual event. Newman said parade marshals for the event this year are veterans from each of the major wars. Representing World War II Joe Humphrey; the Korean War veterans is Max Hodge, the Vietnam War veteran is Bill Blair, the Desert Storm veteran is Ervil Headrick and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan is Cody Russell.

“They are our parade marshals,” Newman said. “That is something we’re very proud to do, honoring American and veterans.”

A program of Christmas music will be presented at the Nawger Nob site following the parade, where prizes will be announced and free refreshments will be served.

There is no fee to enter. Participants must submit an entry form in order to join. Entry forms must be received no later than Friday, Dec. 4.

The City of Townsend will provide the only Santa and Mrs. Claus in the parade.

Registration forms may be picked up at Townsend City Hall or at the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library and returned to the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library or to Townsend City Hall, or faxed to Townsend City Hall at 865-448-0908.

For more information, call David Wietlisbach at 865-448-0765, Ron Palewski at 865-448-0619, or Townsend City Hall at 865-448-6886.

Maryville Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 12

The Maryville /Alcoa Jaycees Annual Christmas Parade will be on Saturday, Dec. 12, starting at 11 a.m. This year’s theme is “Silver Bells.”

This is a great opportunity for clubs, groups, churches, teams, businesses and families to celebrate their Christmas season traditions with the community, parade coordinator Angie Brown said.

Brown said the Maryville Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade has grown through the years. “It’s huge. At one time it was the biggest parade in State of Tennessee. Memphis and bigger towns beat us out, but it’s still huge,” she said.

Applications are available for pick up at the following locations; Blount County Chamber of Commerce, The Daily Times, New Midland Plaza Office, McAlister’s Deli or by requesting an application at

The deadline for the application will be 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. All entries received or postmarked after Dec. 4, will be subject to a $10 late fee. The absolute final day that applications will be accepted is Tuesday, Dec. 8. Last minute participates can take their applications to Alcoa Middle School, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., on the night of Dec. 8 only.

Brown said the route is unchanged from the 2008 parade. It begins on Joule Street, crosses Calderwood Street into New Midland Plaza. It goes through the plaza and then turns right onto North Cusick Street. At the top of the hill it goes right onto West Broadway Avenue and continues straight through downtown Maryville. At the intersection of West Broadway Avenue and West Lamar Alexander Parkway it bears right and ends in the parking lot of New Providence Presbyterian Church.

Brown said participants lining up on Rankin Street need to come off Bessemer Street. If lining up on Joule Street, they need to come into the line up area off Hall Road.

The application packet contains the Parade Rules, the Line Up, the Parade Route and information about the awards. The Jaycees are accepting applications for floats, teams, groups, clubs, bands, churches, and civic groups. For more information, contact Brown at 865-556-5033.

Rain date for the parade is 2 p.m. Dec. 13.

Friendsville Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 12

The Friendsville Christmas Parade is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12.

Line up is at 1 p.m. at Friendsville Elementary School, city recorder Allyson McGill said.

McGill said the parade route leaves the elementary school on East Fourth Avenue, turns left on North Farnum Street, right on West College Avenue, right on North Morgan Street and left onto West Second Avenue, left on North Young Street, right on West College Avenue, left onto Church Street , left onto West Hill Avenue and then left on North Farnum Street and back to the school.

McGill said the parade continues to be a popular event for Friendsville. “It is pretty big. The city really does enjoy it, and we normally have a pretty big turnout as far as folks watching it,” she said. “We serve refreshments in the cafeteria of the elementary school. There isn’t any charge, and folks can come in before or after the parade and get hot chocolate or coffee and cookie,” McGill said.

For information call 865-995-2831. There is no scheduled rain date.

Greenback Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 12

The Greenback Christmas Parade is 11 a.m. Dec. 12, Greenback treasurer/secretary Norma Peeler said.

Peeler said the parade line up is at 10 a.m. on the Greenback School grounds. “We go to McTeer Street, left onto Tennessee Avenue, left onto Highway 95, right onto Elm Street, right onto Morganton Road and that takes you right through town. That’s where Santa Claus gives way little goodies and that takes you right back to the school grounds,” Peeler said.

Peeler said the parade is a special time for the community. “It is indescribable. It’s a time everybody gets together at Christmas and praises the Lord. We have all religious themes,” she said. “It is a wonderful thing. We don’t charge anything, you just show up. It doesn’t matter where you come from. We always have a large parade.”

Rockford Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 12

The Rockford Christmas Parade is at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12. Line up is between 1 and 2 p.m. at the Littlebrook Industrial Park at the corner of Cusick and Singleton Station roads, city manager Terry Willett said.

The city manager said there is no charge for parade participants. “They do need to call city hall to confirm they are in it so I can give that information to the lineup manager,” she said.

Willett said the parade route goes from Singleton Station to Williams Mill Road , then to Old Knoxville Highway and from there to Little River Road where it ends at the city park. The roads will be closed for one hour and 15 minutes from the start of parade until everyone gets off the road, Willett said.

The city manager said the event grows every year. “I’ve only been in charge of it for nine years, but for the past nine years it has grown,” she said. “It gets bigger and bigger every year,” she said. “We’re very proud of our parade. Hot chocolate and donuts will be served at the park, and the Heritage High School band does a performance. We’re just thrilled with it.”

The parade rain date is Sunday, Dec. 13.

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