Haywood County Christmas parades: a guide
Even the most jaded Grinches among us have to agree that there’s something special about a small-town Christmas parade. Maybe it’s the lights, the marching bands, the smiling Santa or the little kids looking continually excited even in the face of nippy weather — but it’s nearly impossible not to feel an infusion of positivity while camping out on a section of crowded sidewalk and watching the procession pass by. Even when it’s downright freezing, seeing everyone come together is a joy.
This year, like many others in the past, Haywood County denizens have three nighttime chances to get their Christmas parade fix. Here is The Guide’s guide to Haywood County’s Christmas parades, each with its own Yuletide flavor. Santa and the misses are expected at all of them.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
Parade theme: “An American Christmas”
Grand Marshall: Canton’s brand-new fire truck, driven by Canton Fire Chief Jimmy Campbell
Route: The procession starts on Blackwell Drive, continues down Main Street, then turns and comes back up Park Street.
Popular place to watch: near the post office, anywhere else on Main Street
Be sure to watch for: the Pisgah High School band, many floats, hot dogs and hot chocolate for sale, vendors selling trinkets from carts and more.
Expected weather: high that day of 51 degrees, low that night of 27 degrees
Number of entries last year: 111
The best part of the parade? “Just the tradition of it and the turn out. No matter what the weather is like, the people of Canton really have a sense of pride and community spirit in them. They always have a real dedication to the Christmas parade and a general interest in the community.” — Assistant Town Manager Jason Burrell
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec 3
Parade theme: “Unwrap the Magic of Christmas”
Route: It follows Soco Road from Ghost Town to the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds (with half the highway blocked off).
Popular place to watch: all along Soco Road, with the biggest concentration of onlookers waiting at the festival grounds
Be sure to watch for: the Tuscola High School band, floats from various town and county departments, possible vendor carts (new this year), a food drive for Haywood Christian Ministry and more.
Expected temperature: high that day of 47 degrees, low that night of 22 degrees
Number of entries last year: 58
The best part of the parade? “Handing out candy to the kids along the side. And we’re known for having good candy.” — Town Clerk Vickie Best (who gives out candy donated by Jelly Belly every year)
When: 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5
Parade theme: “Make the Season Bright”
Route: The parade starts at the corner of Walnut and Main streets, then proceeds south on Main Street and ends at the intersection of Haywood and Main streets.
Popular place to watch: any spot along the street that’s free or from the warmth of one of Main Street’s eateries.
Be sure to watch for: the Tuscola High School band, plus a large collection of floats, including one with staff from The Mountaineer.
Expected temperature: high that day of 51 degrees, low that night of 31 degrees
Number of entries last year: 115
The best part of the parade? “The lights are number one. The lights are wonderful.” — Downtown Waynesville Association Executive Director Buffy Messer