COTTONWOOD - It's this weekend, the 57th annual Cottonwood Christmas Parade. That crazy Black Friday is done and it's time to get serious about the holiday.
Coleen Gilboy, who's coordinating the Christmas parade for the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, is in a tizzy because people seem to wait until the last minute to enter. This year, a discount was offered to encourage early entries. But the other day, they still numbered about 50. She is confident that the entries will grow to the typical 80 entries before the parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday morning, Dec 3.
Last year, a horse and rider joined with the parade on Parade Saturday, just an hour before the kick off. That is not recommended, Gilboy advises. She placed him at the end. But, remember Santa Claus is always the very last entry.
There will be plenty of colors, candy, music, horses, classic and funny cars, clowns, boy scouts, floats and you. The theme this year is "The 5 C's of Arizona," to commemorate the state's centennial coming up in February 2012.
The Boy Scouts will be the Banner Carriers at the front. Paul Heywood, the Grand Marshal, will be riding one of the lead convertibles, and this year the Chamber itself will march in the parade.
Arizona Smile Designers, in a bid to capture the trophy for best use of the parade theme, has promised a float showcasing all five C's, which originally anchored Arizona's economy: copper, Cottonwood, cattle, citrus and climate. The theme is part of the commemoration of Arizona Centennial year.
Creators of another entry suggest they will offer their own "C's', but have not revealed what those might be. Coleen is suggesting "Coleen's Crazy Cottonwood Christmas.... " but she didn't get support for that notion.
Be sure to pick out your spot on Main Street early, bring a folding chair, there is always a crowd for the best spots ... near the parade announcer or on the curve.
The parade kicks off promptly at 11, no matter what the weather. Check-in time for entries is 9 o'clock, and be sure in your place in line by 10:30. The parade kicks off from the Verde Valley Fairgrounds parking lot and disperses at Main at Cactus, just before leaving Old Town.
And for those procrastinators with donkeys who haven't registered for the parade, yet, contact Christian at the Chamber offices: Christian@cottonwoodchamberaz.org or at 634-7593 or FAX: 634-7594 or Coleen Gilboy at 649-8777 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, the parade is just the beginning. After the parade stick around Old Town for festive Christmas music, the scrumptious Chocolate Walk and the lighting of the Christmas tree.