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10,000 expected to attend annual Dallas Christmas parade
by Tom Spigolon
December 03, 2013 04:09 PM | 2280 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Organizers are expecting at least 10,000 to line the streets of downtown Dallas Saturday for the 21st annual Invitational Christmas Parade.

The parade, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Paulding County, is set for 1 p.m. for almost a mile along Main Street, from Dallas Elementary School to the Historic Courthouse Square. The grand marshal will be WellStar Health System’s mascot, Dr. WellBee.

“We thought that would be a great tie-in to the new hospital,” said parade director Sam Elrod, in reference to the new WellStar Paulding replacement hospital set to open in early 2014.

The theme is The Wonder of Christmas Morning and each parade entry is asked to follow the theme and promote “the holiness of Christ’s birth,” according to information from organizers.

Elrod, who has helped organize 10 Dallas Christmas parades, said he expected a total of 75 entries featuring everything from pageant winners and antique cars to the marching bands from all five Paulding public high schools.

“This is the showcase event for all of our bands,” said Elrod, owner of Elrod Garden Center in Dallas.

Each parade entrant is charged a fee of $75 for individuals or organizations, or $100 for business or corporate entities. The money benefits Paulding Christmas Inc., a local umbrella organization that helps various groups deliver Christmas to families who otherwise would have nothing during the holiday season, Elrod said.

Organizers also are asking attendees to bring cans of food. They will be added to the 2,000 cans Rotary members already have collected for Helping Hands of Paulding County, which offers emergency food assistance to those in need year-round, Elrod said.

“What you bring out will be enjoyed before Christmas,” he said.

Past grand marshals have included country stars Patty Loveless and Travis Tritt, and retired Major League Baseball player Taylor Phillips of Atlanta.

All entrants who want floats to be judged need to be completed and ready for judging by 10 a.m. The grand marshal and parade officials will give award winners ribbons beginning at noon.

Categories for judging include Dallas Mayor’s Choice; Hiram Mayor’s Choice; Best High School Junior ROTC; Best High School Marching Band; Most Outstanding Four-Wheel Drive Truck; Biggest Heart Award; Rotarian’s Choice; and first through third places for Best Religious Entry, Best Theme Award for Individual or Organization, Best Theme Award for Corporate Entry, Most Outstanding Horse and Rider, and Most Outstanding Antique Vehicle.

The parade will go on regardless of the weather, Elrod said.

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