Columbia County cities and groups are gearing up for a holiday tradition - Christmas parades.
The cities of Grovetown and Harlem and the Merchants Association of Columbia County are now accepting applications for parade entries.
Grovetown's 33rd annual holiday parade is scheduled for noon Dec. 2. Parade coordinator Laura McManus said more than 80 entries followed the parade route through town last year. The parade features a variety of entries, from floats and marching units to clubs and city officials.
"We have a lot of marching units and drill teams," McManus said. "We have a lot of different clubs that come and take part. There is a big variety. It's a big event in the city."
Entries will be judged and trophies awarded in several categories.
Applications are available at the Grovetown Department of Public Safety office, city hall or on the city's Web site at www.grovetownga.us.
The deadline for applications is Nov. 27.
For more information on Grovetown's parade, call the Grovetown Department of Public Safety at (706) 863-1212.
The Martinez-Evans Christmas Parade, put on annually by the Merchants Association, is scheduled for Dec. 3. The parade will follow last year's new route along from Ronald Reagan Drive down Washington Road and up Belair Road to Belair Elementary School.
Pat Becton, filling in for her husband Billy Becton as parade chairman, said last year's parade featured 120 entries. The parade will be broadcast live on WRDW, Channel 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 3.
The only request of entries is that they should not include Santa Claus, Becton said.
"That is because every year ... our last entry is the fire truck and it has Santa," Becton said. "In other words, the fire engine brings in Santa and we think it is confusing for children to see a lot of Santas in a parade.''
Entries will be judged in six categories. Applications are due by Nov. 22 and can be obtained from Master Pontiac GMC on Washington Road in Martinez, Edward Jones Investments in Eagle Pointe Plaza in Evans, and from the Columbia County Human Resources department on Ronald Reagan Drive.
For more information, contact Becton at (706) 863-7645 or Joan Kernaghan at (706) 860-2538.
Harlem's annual parade will be part of a Dec. 9 city-wide celebration, including Breakfast with Santa and a business sidewalk sale and open house.
Kathy Ham, a parade coordinator and head of the city's Industry, Trade and Tourism department, said last year's parade featured about 50 entries and she already has about 25 applications for this year's event.
The parade will snake from Harlem Middle School on West Boundary Street to Milledgeville Street. The parade will turn onto North Louisville Road and West Forrest Street, headed back to the middle school.
Ham said applications can be obtained at the city's Laurel and Hardy Museum.
"They can call here and we can fax it or they can come by," Ham said.
For more information on Harlem's Christmas parade, call (706) 556-0401.
Quincey Zhong (center) and other members of the Lakeside High School marching band play Christmas tunes for the crowd at the 2004 Columbia County Christmas Parade. There are many opportunities to see a parade in coming weeks.
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