Holiday events ring in Christmas

Published 8:38 am Friday, November 27, 2009

FRANKLIN—The holiday season may be just beginning, but there is a full list of events to kick it off next weekend.

The Downtown Franklin Association’s elf parade and community tree lighting will start off an event-filled weekend next Friday evening.

“Santa and Mrs. Claus will definitely be here for the elf parade,” said Dan Howe, manager of the DFA.

Elf parade participants are asked to assemble in the parking lot in front of the Train Depot/Visitors Center at 5:30 p.m. to receive their elf hats. Participants will walk with Santa and Mrs. Claus down Main Street to Barrett’s Landing for refreshments, Christmas carols and the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree.

Then the Franklin Community Christmas Parade, themed “A Hometown Christmas,” is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. in downtown Franklin.

“We’re very excited with the community involvement and we’re looking forward to a great community event,” Howe said.

Last year, the parade almost didn’t happen when the GFWC Franklin Junior Woman’s Club was unable to organize the event after eight years of doing so. City government, led by the Department of Parks and Recreation, staged the event at the last minute.

Given recent events, including the announced shutdown of International Paper Co.’s Franklin mill, Howe said events like these are even more important.

“It’s even more crucial now that we continue with events that keep the community spirit up,” he said.

The DFA, in cooperation with other community organizations, is sponsoring this year’s parade — with an emphasis on “community.”

Howe said that there will be a “good variety” of participants. More than 40 different groups and organizations have registered to participate in the parade.

Howe said that the event gets support from civic groups like the Franklin Rotary Club, the Hunterdale Ruritan Club, the Salvation Army and the Franklin Tri-County Alumni Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, as well as other dedicated individuals and DFA volunteers.

“The Delta Sigma Theta group have been key volunteers in the preparation and will be key during the parade,” he said.

“If there are any other groups or individuals interested in helping volunteer during the day of the parade, they can contact the DFA office,” Howe said.

The Christmas spirit continues next Sunday when the Franklin Community Choir, with the Girls Choir of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, will hold its annual Christmas Concert at 4 p.m. at Franklin Baptist Church. The concert will be accompanied by strings and piano and will also feature guest soloist Harris Ipock of the East Carolina School of Music in Greenville, N.C.

The Rev. Steven Gibson, the minister of music at Franklin Baptist Church, said the doors will open at 3:30 and recommended that people “get there early” for good seats. It will feature sing-alongs and sacred and secular Christmas carols.

The concert is free and open to the public. Guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food or monetary donation, to benefit the Franklin Cooperative Ministry.

“They help everybody in our community, and we need to think about that this year,” Gibson said.

Other holiday events planned for next weekend include:

n Capron Tree Lighting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.

n Courtland Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5. The parade starts at 2:30 p.m. on Main Street and the tree lighting will follow in Shands Park.

n Carrsville Ruritan Christmas Parade will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. The lineup will begin at 1 p.m. on Pruden Road.

n Boykins will hold its annual “Decorate the Christmas Tree” event at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Buck Lassiter Mini Park.

n The Capron Community Auxiliary will sponsor the Capron Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6.

n The Chowan University Department of Music will present its annual Christmas at Chowan concert on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3:30 pm in Turner Auditorium. The concert will feature a wide range of holiday music performed by the Brass Ensemble, Cantare, Chowan Singers, Chowan Winds, the Collegium Musicum and the Jazz Ensemble. Additionally, pianists Charles J. Hulin IV and Paula Pressnell will play.