MOUNT OLIVE — Breazeale Avenue is expected to be lined with thousands of people Saturday, Feb. 23, for the Unity Organization’s 13th annual Black History Month Parade.

Lineup will be between 8 a.m. to noon along Talton Avenue, which will be a one-way street on parade day. Units should enter Talton Avenue from the Old Mount Olive Highway.

Signs will be in place to direct traffic to the lineup area, organizer Rickey Faire said.

The route will follow Breazeale Avenue south to the Carver Cultural Center, where the parade will disband.

The deadline for vendor and parade entry applications is Friday, Feb. 15.

There were more than 200 units in the 2018 parade, and at least that many or more are expected this year, Faire said.

Police estimate that more than 8,000 people lined the 2018 parade route, he said.

“So far everything is looking good,” Faire said. “We are just looking forward to the 23rd.”

Planning for the parade began in December, organizer Vicky Darden said. The rain date is Saturday, March 2.

Darden said she wanted to thank the late Ora Jean Truzy for helping organize the first parade.

“Ora Jean, she fought and got it going,” Darden said. “I want to thank Sheila (Oates) for coming on board when she did. I just want to thank both of them. We want to thank those who have given us donations to help us put this parade on.

“A lot of people say it is enjoyment, fellowship. That’s what it is all about — fellowship and having a good time.”

Darden joked that she was having to get candy ready to be thrown out during the parade.

State Rep. Raymond Smith of Goldsboro will serve as grand marshal. Jerilyn Lee of Mount Olive will be the marshal.

Smith has worked with the state Department of Transportation and was the first executive director of GATEWAY. Smith left GATEWAY to work in other areas of transportation before becoming director of transportation of Wayne County Public Schools in 2004, remaining for 10 years.

He is a former at-large member of the Wayne County Board of Education.

Lee is a native of Chicago.

She worked for 37 years with UniFirst Corp. (formerly Textilease). She retired in 2012 as the corporation’s regional human resources manager for its Atlantic and Southeast regions.

She has served as Wayne County human resources director since 2014.

Lee and her husband, Kenneth, have three daughters and three grandchildren.

For more information, call Faire at 919-344-9944 or Darden at 919-658-3961.