Cottonwood Christmas parade tradition continues Saturday<br>'The Spirit of Christmas' this year's theme

The parade will follow last year's route, proceeding down Cherry Street to Main, and onto Old Town Cottonwood.

"The Spirit of Christmas" is this year's parade theme, said Donna Schmidt, administrative assistant at the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce.

Pete Sesow, the chamber's executive director, will be the grand marshal for this year's parade, she said.

Last year's parade had five grand marshals, chosen from a list of names provided to the chamber by the Cottonwood Historical Society.

The parade traditionally occurs on the first Saturday in December, or Dec. 8 this year.

The list of entrees already tops last year's, with nearly 40 people or organizations signing up to promenade.

Last year's parade had approximately 30 or more entries, including floats, bands, cars and horses. This year's entry divisions are the same as last year's, according to Schmidt.

Last year's divisions included marching band, walking unit, performing walkers, riding vehicle, riding unit vehicle, riding horse, riding unit horse, civic entry, commercial float, classic car, color guard, and school entry.

Gearing up for Saturday's parade are the Marine Corps League of Tonto Basin, Greyhound Pets of America, the Camp Verde Cavalry, Clarkdale-Jerome School, CATS, Bill Williams Mountain Men, Vetran Motor Car Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mingus Union FFA, Lil' Wranglers, Arizona Flywheelers, Cottonwood Jammin' Jumpers, Verde River Cruisers, the Terrapin Club and many more.

The parade will line up and start at 11 a.m. at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds, 12th and Cherry streets.

The parade will follow last year's route, proceeding down Cherry Street to Main Street, and along Main Street into Old Town Cottonwood, where it will end.

Immediately after the parade, activities will begin at the fairgrounds, said Schmidt. All activities will be in the fairgrounds' Gyberg Commercial Building.

"Santa will be there for the kids," she said, "and they will have gift bags for the kids." There also will be music, carolers and other entertainment, she added.

However, the Cottonwood Community Band will be missing from this year's after-parade activities because of a scheduling conflict, said the chamber administrative assistant. Unfortunately, the band already had a concert date scheduled elsewhere, she said.

Parade entry winners will be announced at the fairgrounds no later than 2 p.m., Schmidt said.

For more information, call Donna Schmidt at the chamber office, 634-7593.

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