Franklin Christmas, Elf parades to be graced with seasonably warm weather

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The weather projection for Thursday and Friday around parade time is for the 40s or 50s, and Downtown Franklin Association Executive Director Dan Howe said that’d be great for the annual Elf and Christmas Parade.

“It’s a nice representation of our community, between the bands, the churches and other private and public groups,” Howe said of the Christmas Parade. “Weather in the 50s will be good parade weather, though Santa doesn’t like it too hot.

“He roasts in that heavy suit,” he added with a laugh.

On Thursday, children can start lining up for the Elf Parade and Tree Lighting at the DFA Depot on Main Street at 5:30 p.m. Santa will arrive promptly at 6 p.m., and parade the elves down to Barrett’s Landing. The parade will also feature a nativity group from Bethel Church.

“They can whisper to Santa what they have been good at, so Santa will bring them something,” Howe said. “We will have a live nativity group for the kids, and the traditional cookies and hot chocolate.

“It’s a great time for the children to get to talk to Santa, up close and personal.”

On the next evening, starting at 7 p.m., the annual parade, this year featuring more than 60 floats or groups at this point, will start rolling down Clay Street toward Fourth Avenue, where the route will go right on Main and go all the way to Barrett’s Landing.

The procession will line up from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Armory on the Campbell Street side.

Howe asked residents to not park on Main Street that evening, as it gives the bands more room to work safely. He also asked community members to keep the route clear along Gardner Street, Charles Street, Clay Street and Fourth Avenue, including intersections along the way.

Right now the number of marching bands performing is at five, Howe said, though he added that more could be coming. the Marching Broncos of Franklin High School, the Marching Indians of Southampton High School, the Marching Tigers of Sussex Central High School, the Quiet Storm of Lakeland High School and the Marching Eagles of Greensville High School are confirmed as of Tuesday morning.

Howe said Applebee’s, Dairy Queen and Bojangles’ will be out parading and handing out coupons.

The Franklin Masonic Lodge No. 151 is a group to watch for.

“They are always a good group — they have little cars and other neat things to look for,” Howe said.

The Southampton Renaissance Faire members will also be out in their “chivalrous” outfits.

Government will also be present, Howe said. Del. Rick Morris will be in attendance, as will members of the Franklin City Council, along with groups from Southampton County.

The Grand Marshals of the parade are Fred and David Rabil of Fred’s Restaurant.

“The theme this year is Christmas Past and Christmas Present,” Howe said. “Fred’s going to be Christmas Past, and David’s Christmas Present. They’ll be right at the front of the parade after the color guard and banner.”

Dan Preston of Real Country 101.7 and Tony “DJ Toeknee” Longoria will be the emcees of the procession.

“And Santa is always good to look for,” Howe said about the end of the parade. “He’s going to be riding an authentic one horse open sleigh that we are mounting on the DFA float.

“We’re looking forward to another successful set of parades this year.”