Chamber hands over Christmas parade reins to town

Published 9:51 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

The school year is over and summer camp season is here.  This is the time when churches and summer camp facilities work on programs and activities with their campers, one of which is planning/designing floats for the Hometown Christmas Parade.

“The Davie Chamber typically begins receiving phone calls about the parade theme in early June and we strive to have it final by that time,” said Carolyn McManamy, chamber president.

This year there will be some changes to the Hometown Christmas Parade.  As announced in early February, the parade will now be held in December and organized by the Town of Mocksville. This change was brought about by the Mocksville Town Council’s unanimous vote to move the Christmas parade to a Saturday in December.

Prior to that meeting, the Mocksville town manager contacted the chamber president to discuss an interest in moving the date of the parade. During that lengthy conversation it was explained that the chamber was happy to continue hosting the parade in November, but due to an already over committed schedule, not in December.

While many businesses enjoy a slower pace during the holiday season, the Davie Chamber uses the weeks leading up to Christmas to do the bulk of the preparations for the Annual Awards Gala & Meeting in mid-January.  It also holds voting for the Best of Davie Community Awards, heavily promote local businesses through the ishopdavie shop local program and complete budgets and planning for the upcoming year for the chamber and Davie County Tourism.

“We simply do not have the time or the staff to organize the parade as well,” McManamy said. “While it isn’t a complicated endeavor to host a parade, it takes a lot of organization, time and volunteers to ensure it runs smoothly.”

The chamber has hosted this annual community event for more than 12 years and stepped into that role when the former parade organizers, the Mocksville Jaycees, disbanned.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed our role in continuing the community tradition of ushering in the Christmas season with a parade down Main Street featuring our local businesses, community groups and churches, with a guest appearance from Santa.  For as long as many of our residents can remember, the parade was held on the first Saturday in December and when we changed it to a Saturday in November, there was an adjustment for everyone.”

In 2012, chamber staff collaborated with Historic Downtown Merchants and the Town of Mocksville employees to create a new event to help draw more people to historic downtown during the weekend before Thanksgiving – which is when the Christmas Open House events were held.

“The intent was simple – to create a weekend of events to kick off the holiday season, showcase our community and help our downtown businesses,” she said. “The infamous ‘Twas the Night Before Bed Races” was developed and hosted for the first time on Friday, Nov. 16 and the parade was held the next day where bed race entrants were invited to participate in the parade to showcase their beds. Another part of this collaboration was the decision to coordinate the Christmas Parade theme with the Town Christmas Ornament, creating a cohesive theme for the season.

“We learned a lot that first year beds were raced down Main Street and since then, the bed race committee has worked hard to make the bed race the signature event it has become. For the last six years on the Friday night before Thanksgiving, Main Street is filled with visitors and residents alike to watch teams race their beds in hopes of winning top honors.  The bed races have captured the interest of many, including our local news station WXII News 12, who not only broadcast the event but competed as well. If success is measured by the size of the crowds lining the streets and the thriving business in our local restaurants and shops – the Bed Races are a home run.”

People are still talking about the parade, McManamy said.

“Our sincere thank you to everyone for your kind words of support and appreciation. We have thoroughly enjoyed hosting the parade and have been blessed to work with so many wonderful community groups and individuals.  The Davie County Chamber Board of Directors and Staff wish to extend their thanks and appreciation to the many volunteers/donors who helped us along the way: the Davie High School JROTC, Bethlehem UMC Boy Scout Troop 732, the Mocksville Police Department, the Davie High School Future Farmers of America, the Davie Chamber Ambassadors, the Mocksville Fire Department and Mocksville Public Works, Trailers of the East Coast, Daniel Furniture & Electric Co, Allen Geomatics, P.C., and Republic Waste Services.”

The 2018 holiday season will be different as the Town of Mocksville will now be the host of the bed races and the Christmas parade.   

“This change presents a great opportunity to infuse new ideas into this time-honored community event.   Davie Chamber staff  have already held meetings with the Town of Mocksville staff to share ideas, event timelines and planning documents to ensure a smooth transition.

“It is our sincere belief that this year’s parade will be fantastic and well attended by residents and visitors to our community. The chamber staff will be there too, offering assistance if needed, but more importantly, actually watching the parade from the sidewalk for the first time in many years.”

The 2018 Hometown Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1.  Anyone interested in participating or working as a volunteer may contact Tami Langdon at 336.753.6705.