Christmas Parades From Now And Then

It’s fair to say that we are in the heart of Christmas celebration season. The first picture in this week’s Throwback column only dates back a few days to Monday evening’s celebration of our annual Sanford Christmas Parade.  Tomorrow brings the annual tree-lighting festivities at Depot Park and Broadway’s parade is just over a week away. All three events are well attended and much anticipated every year. You can click here to see a full photo gallery of the 2019 Sanford Christmas Parade.

While we’re at it, let’s also take a closer look at some Christmas parade activities from the early years.

Sanford’s Christmas Parade is really something we can be proud of. It’s taken place for over 6 decades, lasts for over an hour and is filled with plenty of participants … floats, bands, service organizations, youth groups, churches and the like. For many years, the Sanford Jaycees were the organizing group for the parade. While the parade route, day and time have shifted a bit over the years, the activity has always been downtown-focused.

Eventually, the parade moved into its present-day customary time slot, as the first Monday evening in December. When the Sanford Jaycees disbanded in 2008, the Sanford Chamber of Commerce stepped in to manage the parade for a few years, before handing over supervision to the Central Carolina Jaycees, who continue to operate this special event.

Although times, attractions, streetscapes and storefronts change over the years, there’s something comforting about the permanence of Sanford’s Christmas Parade. And just as he’s done every year, Santa Claus always makes an appearance at the end of the parade … with Mrs. Claus seated right by his side!

Editorial content, pictures and research background , compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase. All book proceeds go to Sanford’s Railroad House Historical Association, Inc.

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