Record numbers expected for parade

Published 10:53 am Monday, December 3, 2012

The Franklin High School Band participates in the parade. FILE

FRANKLIN—A record 100 entries are expected for the Friday, Dec. 7, Franklin Christmas Parade.

Participants and spectators, including 10 to 15 local World War II veterans, are expected from as far as Hampton Roads and North Carolina.

It will be the second year in a row since 1968 that Franklin will have a nighttime Christmas parade, with the event kicking off at 7 o’clock at the Armory.

“A night parade gives a different spirit and brings people together,” said Linwood Johnson, the parade’s citizen chairman. “It puts us in the focus of the Christmas spirit. No matter what differences people have, everyone comes together. It shows the spirit of love exists, and that to me is fascinating.”

The 1½-mile parade will follow the same route as last year. After leaving the Armory, it will head down Gardener Street to Charles Street and Fourth Avenue before hitting Main Street and ending at Barrett’s Landing.

Franklin police at 6:45 p.m. will close the streets and asks motorists to remove vehicles parked along the parade route.

Sponsored by Downtown Franklin Association, the parade will feature high school bands from Franklin, Windsor, Southampton County, Portsmouth and Lakeland. The color guard from Virginia State University in Petersburg also will participate in the parade, which Johnson expects will last 1½ hours.

Judges will come from Suffolk, Portsmouth and North Carolina.

WLQM will play Christmas music in the downtown and vocalist Brenda Ash Livermon will sing.

A performer in Hampton Roads for more than 40 years, Livermon sang during the Virginia Democratic Convention in Richmond and has performed with Tommy Newsom, Clarence Clemmons and Cuba Gooding Sr.

The weather forecast is calling for 54 degrees with no chance of rain.

Last year’s parade, which was held during the 50th anniversary of the city’s independence from Southampton County, there were 70 participants.