With events before and after the parade to keep attendees busy, families will have something to do all day in downtown Woodstock.
In its 15th year, the parade initially started in 1997 during the city’s centennial celebration. The city received its charter from the state in 1897.
“After a few years, that theme sort of morphed into the Christmas parade and it steadily got bigger,” said Kyle Bennett, the city’s assistant director of tourism and visitors center operations.
Bennett said city staff is looking forward to a large turnout as Saturday’s forecast looks fairly warm and the extra attractions may keep visitors in the downtown area longer.
“We could very well see people spend more time than they normally would for the parade,” Bennett said.
To kick off Saturday’s events, The Elm Street Players will perform “The Lazy Elves” at 2 p.m. at the Chambers at City Center.
The special performance is free in an effort to thank the city and community for their support of Elm Street Cultural Arts Center throughout the last year. Organizers request attendees bring a can of chili, stew, or soup to help local food pantries.
At 5:30 p.m., the parade will head down Main Street toward Woodstock Elementary School on Rope Mill Road, rain or shine.
Special Events Coordinator Marybeth Stockdale said about 85 participants have signed up their floats to be part of the parade, which is about the same number of participants as last year.
“Each of those can bring up to two vehicles or floats,” Stockdale said, adding a slew of participants signed up on Monday.
“I think everybody realized it’s going to be a nice day on Saturday,” Stockdale said.
Participants include the county-owned trolley the city will rent for holiday transportation, the Atlanta Hawks Street Team, Chick-fil-A cows, local beauty queens, dance companies, marching bands, Scout troops and an appearance by Santa Claus.
Santa will be available for photographs in the Park at City Center following the parade where he will flip the switch to light the park’s Christmas tree.
Additionally, Santa is also requesting families bring an unwrapped toy to the park for the Woodstock Jaycees Christmas Toy Drive. Children can also bring their Christmas wish list to the gazebo and they will receive a personalized letter from Santa just before Christmas.
Serving as the parade’s grand marshal, Woodstock Citizen of the Year Bill Johnston will also be recognized in a ceremony following the parade as well as awards for the best parade floats.
Other events in the park include a free marshmallow roast with cookies and s’mores provided by BJ’s Wholesale Club, a moonwalk provided by Colby Chiropractic, a DJ and holiday food and retail vendors.
For the first time, the city will show two movies—“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Grinch”—in the park at 8 p.m. as part of a series presented by Northside Hospital-Cherokee and the Woodstock Downtown Development Authority.
For more information about the parade or any of Saturday’s events, contact Stockdale at (770) 517-6788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.