More than 100 entries and about 30 floats have signed up so far for the 2019 Monticello-Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade, which is set for Friday, December 6 at 6 p.m.

    The procession marks the official arrival of the Christmas season in 
Monticello and is a highlight for many local residents who line Main 
Street to see the lights, the festive decorations and Santa Claus.
    Officials expect more participants to sign up by Friday, according 
to Charlie Peters with the Chamber of Commerce.
    "Entries have really picked up in the last week," said Peters. While 
the November 29 deadline has passed, there are still some late 
entries being accepted this week.
    Leading this year's parade will be long-time local businessman and 
former Wayne County Judge-Executive Drexell Anderson, who will serve 
as Grand Marshal. Anderson was selected for his service to the 
community as County Judge-Executive, as well as his leadership in 
business as he operated the local Western Auto.
    Behind Anderson will be this year's Hometown Hero, retired 
Monticello Police Chief Ralph Miniard. Miniard served 37 years as 
Chief of Police for Monticello before his retirement from the force 
in December 2018.
    This year's theme is "Christmas at the Movies," and Peters said that 
many clubs, groups and organizations have enjoyed putting together 
floats from popular holiday movies. Some of the movies selected for 
floats include The Polar Express, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Once 
Upon a Christmas, Frosty, The Star, Christmas Vacation and Island of 
the Misfit Toys.
    "The theme has created a lot of excitement and it has allowed people 
to really use their imagination for floats," said Peters.
    This procession will also include antique vehicles, ATV's, horses, 
decorated wagons, fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles. 
Santa Claus will make his arrival near the end of the procession.
    The parade lineup will begin at 4 p.m. Friday on Hardwood Drive. 
Hardwood Drive will become a one-way street at that time, according 
to Peters. Traffic can only travel from the post office toward 
Community Telecom Services. All parade entries must travel from the 
entrance at the post office.
    Peters would like to have all entries in place as soon as possible 
Friday, and everyone should be lined up by 5 p.m. He noted that there 
will be a shuttle available at Cash Express that will bring those who 
need a ride to their parade entries.
    Peters did ask for patience from residents who live in the Hardwood 
Drive and Damron Addition area, since they have to deal with the 
congested traffic there on Friday.
    The parade will begin at 6 p.m. It will travel from Hardwood Drive 
onto North Main Street toward the downtown area. Peters asked that 
parents caution their children about dashing into the street to 
collect candy that is thrown from the floats. "We don't want anyone 
to get hurt," he said.
    The parade will continue along Main Street, around the square and 
will end at the Justice Center on Columbia Avenue. It will be 
televised again this year, so anyone who can't make it out to watch 
can view on local cable channel 8.
    Judges are from out-of-town and the winners of each float category 
will be announced following the conclusion of the parade. There are 
cash prizes for first, second and third place winners in each of the 
five float categories. Peters noted that there is also a new award 
this year. The Grand Prize winning float will receive $500.
    As always, there is the question of weather when the parade begins. 
Looking ahead, Peters said that it looks to be dry at parade time, 
and it will be seasonally cold.
    Anyone who needs more information about the parade can contact the Chamber office at (606) 348-3064.

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