Parade back on track

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some small-town traditions are sacred. We’d put a Christmas parade on that list, and Franklin officials should be commended for bending over backward to keep the tradition alive.

Led by Parks and Recreation Director Frank Davis, city officials saved the day this week, announcing that the parade will roll as scheduled on the first Saturday of December.

That didn’t seem likely last week, when word spread around town that the Franklin Junior Woman’s Club had ended its sponsorship of the parade and no other sponsor had stepped forward to keep it going.

In defense of the Junior Woman’s Club, organizing a parade is a huge undertaking. The club did it well for eight years, but declining membership and other resources took their toll. Club members said they told the powers-that-be a year ago that the 2007 parade would be their last.

Curiously, that decision was never made public, so folks were taken aback by news last week that a Christmas parade may not happen this year.

Absent a sponsoring organization, city government itself will organize the 2008 parade, though a communitywide effort is needed to make it successful.

“What I’m doing is making an appeal to people within the community, to organizations, churches, marching groups, anybody, to come and participate …,” Davis said.

How the community responds to that call will likely determine whether the Christmas parade continues in 2009 and beyond.