Communities prepare to kick off holidays
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on November 29, 2012 1:46 PM
There will be no shortage of holiday cheer in the area Saturday as Mount Olive, Fremont, Princeton and Goldsboro will be teeming with floats, marching bands and spectators during their respective Christmas parades.
Mount Olive kicks off the parade schedule at 10 a.m., followed by the Fremont and Princeton parades, both at 1 p.m. The Goldsboro Jaycees Christmas Parade will begin at 4 p.m.
Beginning in southern Wayne County, the Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Mount Olive parade, where the lineup will begin at 9 a.m. at the corner of Henderson Street and North Breazeale Avenue.
The grand marshal will be former Miss North Carolina Hailey Best.
Members of the Mount Olive Jaycees will assist participants in the lineup.
The parade will begin at the Mt. Olive Centre shopping center, move south on Breazeale Avenue, east on Pollock Street, north along Center Street and end at the Mount Olive Fire Station.
In Fremont, more than 80 entries are expected in the Christmas parade, which organizer Keith Stewart said will feature the marching bands from Charles B. Aycock and Goldsboro high schools, plus mini rigs, classic cars and lots to do for children.
The grand marshals will be Burton and Martha Lou Smith. Smith owned and operated Milton Best Insurance in town for decades and both he and his wife have been very active in the community.
The parade route will begin at the corner of Main and Vance streets and head down Goldsboro Street to South Street to Dock Street. The route continues on Dock to its end.
Stewart said the best places to watch the parade are likely near the railroad tracks.
The parade is organized by Boy Scout Troop 12 and acts as a fundraiser for the Troop.
On the eastern edge of Johnston County, the Princeton Christmas Parade will feature two marching bands among more than 75 entries.
Organizer April Williamson said she will likely be taking entries up until the day of the parade.
"In Princeton, you just decorate and come on," she said.
A bazaar in the community building on Center Street will begin at 10 a.m. and run throughout the parade, offering hot dogs, chili, soup, drinks and craft tables.
The parade will also be an opportunity to show off downtown Princeton's new decorations, she said.
"Downtown looks really nice," Mrs. Williamson said.
In downtown Goldsboro, the final parade of the day will feature more than 120 parade entrants -- slightly more than last year according to organizer Alicia Goldsby.
The grand marshal will be Col. Jeannie Leavitt, who will personify the parade's 2012 theme: "Let Freedom Ring with the Bells of Christmas."
"Putting that together, we really wanted to have some participation from Seymour Johnson (Air Force Base)," she said.
She said the organizers remembered an article in the News-Argus about Leavitt being the first female wing commander and felt it was a good opportunity to welcome her and the base into the fold of the parade.
"We thought this would be a great time to bring Seymour Johnson into the community aspect of the event," she said.
But choosing Col. Leavitt as the marshal would also celebrate the barriers she has broken on behalf of women everywhere, she added.
The route of the parade will begin on South Center Street, heading north before turning east onto Walnut, north on John and west on Mulberry streets before continuing north on Center Street and around the Ash Street roundabout before returning along southbound Center Street.
Ms. Goldsby said organizers are encouraging attendees to arrive early, especially since the roads along the route will be closed at 2 p.m.
Here's the Saturday parade schedule:
• Mount Olive Christmas Parade, 10 a.m., downtown Mount Olive
• Princeton Christmas Parade, 1 p.m., downtown Princeton
• Fremont Christmas Parade, 1 p.m., downtown Fremont
• Goldsboro Jaycees Christmas Parade, 4 p.m., downtown Goldsboro