Floats lined Frank Allen road at the Cashiers Christmas Parade Block Party on Tuesday and those braving the chill visited with Santa Clause, sang Christmas carols, listened to live music, and feasted on hot dogs.
After cancelling the Christmas Parade last year, organizers from the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center weren’t going to let weather stop them from celebrating the holiday again this year. Rescheduling the 44th annual parade for Dec. 11 and holding the first ever Cashiers Christmas Parade Block Party wasn’t the first plan,but given the weather on the original parade date it was the best solution, said Parade Director Eli Ramirez.
“2017 was the first year to cancel,” said Ramirez. “There have been select occasions of rescheduling around weather where the traditional alternative date was to hold the parade on Sunday the next day. This year, with the deteriorating weather forecast we knew we would not be able to celebrate the parade over the weekend. We were determined to not let the weather cancel the parade for a second year.”
In this year’s parade there were 52 entries originally registered. Camp Merrie-Woode, Sam Lupas (winner of 2018 Businessperson of the Year), Cub Scout Troop #222, Blue Ridge Public Safety, and Sapphire Valley Resort all participated with entries during the Block Party. Santa, Mrs. Claus and Vanna Cameron (winner of 2018 Citizen of the Year) were also in attendance and Cashiers Valley Preschool came to share homemade cookies.
Cashiers Cares and Rotary Club provided their traditional free meal this year served at the Firehouse. Junior Appalachian Musicians were also participants and provided entertainment.
Those who attended donning green and red in a variety of forms said the alternative plan was a good compromise given the situation.
“I think this is great,” said Mark Letson from Sapphire. “I think they should do this again next year, the kids loved it.”
Lupas said he was honored to win this year’s Businessperson of the Year award. He is the Chairman of the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Board and helped navigate the acquisition by Mission Health.
“I was honored, it’s a small town and when you spend as much time working in a community it’s great to get some recognition for it,” said Lupas. “That’s not why I did it, but it was nice the hard work was recognized.”
Cameron was awarded Citizen of the Year and said the award should be given to so many people in the community for what they do.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Cameron. “We all do things together in this community and for one person to get this (award) and for that person to be me is amazing.”
She added that shifting to Plan B when the weather did not cooperate was a great move.
“I think it’s great, I’d rather have a great community block party in lieu of the parade,” said Cameron.
Ramirez said based on projected deteriorating weather conditions, consulting local reports, discussing safety concerns with local officials, and speaking with parade participants, they opted to make the call Friday at noon and communicate alternative details before schools let out for the weekend.
“We hoped to provide an alternative opportunity to showcase the talented efforts that the community had invested in the parade,” said Ramirez. “Brainstorming ideas lead to the Christmas Parade Block Party. Special thanks to Rick Stargel of High South Adventures for live coverage on Live.highsouthadventures.com, the Cashiers Glenville Fire Department and Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad as swell as Jackson County Sheriff’s office presence and support during the event.”
The 45th annual Cashiers Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, December 14 at noon.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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Pictured below are photos courtesy of the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center:
2018 Parade Award Winners:
Cashiers Christmas Star
Entry displaying the best overall creativity, appearance and originality
Elfin Magic Award
CUB SCOUT PACK #222
Entry best featuring children
Holiday Spirit Award
CASHIERS CARES + ROTARY CLUB OF CASHIERS VALLEY
Entry with the most enthusiastic participants
Tin Soldier Award
STEVE JOHANNESSEN + ALLYSON MULKEY
Best marching or walking entry
Cashiers Caroling Award
“JAM” JUNIOR APPALACHIAN MUSICIANS
Entry with best musical performance
Santa’s Sleigh Award
SAPPHIRE VALLEY RESORT
Entry with the best theme in motion as float or other motorized vehicle
Vintage Vehicle Award
BLUE RIDGE PUBLIC SAFETY
Entry for best car or truck display