With the theme “Silver, Bells & Snowflakes,” the 66th Annual Asheville Holiday Parade, sponsored by Mission Health, rolls, marches and dances its way through downtown Asheville on Saturday, November 17 beginning at 11am. Following the parade, JingleFest, a family-friendly celebration of holiday entertainment, will be held in Pack Square Park from 1-4pm.
Olympic silver medalists from western North Carolina, Lauren Tamayo and Manteo Mitchell, will serve as Grand Marshals for the parade and will sign autographs for future Olympians at JingleFest. The red, white and blue Grand Marshal float is sponsored by Deerfield Retirement Community.
Tamayo, who took the silver medal as part of the Women’s Pursuit Cycling Team, makes her home in Asheville and Mitchell, one of the most decorated men’s athletes in Western Carolina University’s history, ran on a broken leg to help the Men’s 4×400-Meter Relay Team reach silver.
“It’s particularly fitting to have Lauren and Manteo as Grand Marshals since we’re also celebrating the silver anniversary of the Asheville Downtown Association this year,” said Parade Director Sandie Rhodes.
Of course, it’s not a holiday parade without Santa Claus and the big man himself will close the parade on his float sponsored by Express Employment Professionals before heading over to JingleFest to pose for pictures with good little boys and girls.
Also at JingleFest, get a closer look at the silver St. Jude Dream Bike custom built by Orange County Choppers for Window World. The stage will offer non-stop performances by many of the dance groups in the parade. The Asheville High Cougar Marching Band, the only North Carolina band selected to play the presidential inauguration, will perform and attendees will get a preview of the Mission Children’s Hospital’s fundraising concert, Hometown Holiday Jam. NC Stage Company’s, Charlie Flynn-McIver will emcee the stage production.
Plus, jugglers, stilt walkers and balloon artists will delight children, while a bounce house, giant slide and other inflatables, games and contests will keep the young kids busy. Hot cider and other goodies will be available for purchase.
After JingleFest, or any day through the end of the year, wander downtown on the Holiday Windows Walking Tour sponsored by Window World of Asheville, to delight in all the decorations. A map can be downloaded here.
“The magical and whimsical displays of the Holiday Windows Tour are a fun and free way for families to get in to the holiday spirit,” notes Rhodes.
Head over to The Grove Arcade, a silver sponsor of this year’s parade, to check out a wide selection of gingerbread houses from The National Gingerbread House Competition held at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, beginning November 20.
Other parade sponsors include: Aloft Asheville, TD Bank, Lowes Foods, 99.9 Kiss Country, 98.1 The River, WNCW, Star 104.3, 105.9 The Mountain, WNC Magazine, WNC Parent, Asheville Citizen-Times, The Laurel of Asheville and ARC.
For more information, visit www.ashevilledowntown.org, call (828) 251-9973 or contact Parade Director Sandie Rhodes at email@example.com. Updates will also be available on the parade hotline at (828) 628-2403.