IF YOU GO
What: Holiday Starlight Parade.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Market Street from M.L. King Boulevard to Second Street in front of The Tennessee Aquarium.
Several other communities have scheduled parades and other celebrations this weekend. Among them:
Benton, Tenn.: The annual Polk County Christmas parade, sponsored by the Polk County Chamber of Commerce and the city of Benton, will start at 1 p.m. Awards are given for best floats, and Santa will make an appearance. 423-338-5040.
Blairsville, Ga.: Vogel State Park will celebrate from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday with a tree lighting, caroling, hayrides, Santa Claus visits, bonfire, hot chocolate and cider. The Give a Gift Toy Drive, sponsored by the Union County Sheriff's Department, is seeking unwrapped gifts for kids up to age 12 (no toy guns, knives or dangerous items). 706-745-2628.
Chickamauga, Ga.: Chickamauga's holiday parade starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, as part of Christmas in the Streets, which lasts from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The daylong festival features live music, face painting, refreshments, caroling in the streets and a visit from Santa. The Gordon-Lee Mansion will be open for candlelight tours from 5 to 9 p.m. (see Homes for the Holidays story on Page 13). 423-718-3576.
Dunlap, Tenn.: The annual Christmas parade takes place at 4 p.m. CST Saturday. Lineup starts near Sequatchie County High School and proceeds through town on Highway 28 (Rankin Avenue).
Lookout Valley: The Christmas parade starts at noon Saturday, traveling from Lookout Valley Elementary School along Cummings Highway to Walmart. The Christmas Celebration follows at Patten Recreation Center.
Spring City, Tenn.: The Christmas parade will fill Front Street with floats and bands at 2 p.m. Saturday. Early arrivals also can tour the Parade of Trees, which is set up in the Spring City History Museum Annex. Hours are 2-6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free.
Trenton, Ga.: Dade County's Christmas Parade & Christmas on the Square celebration is scheduled for noon to 9 p.m. Saturday.
After a one-year hiatus, the Holiday Starlight Parade is back.
Budget constraints caused the suspension of last year's event, which was part of the annual Winter Days & Lights programming designed to bring people downtown. Volkswagen of Chattanooga reached out this year to Carla Pritchard at Chattanooga Presents, which produces the parade, about bringing it back.
"I am pleased that Volkswagen Chattanooga was able to help re-establish the parade so that this family event can continue to be a part of the holiday season in Chattanooga," said Frank Fishcher, VW Chattanooga chairman and CEO.
Scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, the parade will begin at the corner of M.L. King Boulevard and will travel along Market Street to Second Street. More than 60 entries are expected, including bands, balloons, floats, walking units and automobiles driven by VW enthusiasts in the Volks Folks club.
Volunteers will be walking the route handing out candy.
Special guests for the evening will be Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The parade will be videotaped and broadcast on WRCB-TV 3 at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.
"It should all be over around 7 o'clock or so," said Ann Ball, "so it is perfect for people to come downtown and eat, stay for a movie or all kinds of fun things to do."
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...