It’s time for the Jaycees Christmas Parade.
“The theme for the parade is ‘The Songs of Christmas.’ We hope this year’s theme starts the holiday cheer in our small community a little early. It’s never too soon to say MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Keenan Sudderth, project chairman, said in a release announcing the parade lineup.
There are over 120 entries in the parade Saturday, including walking groups, dignitaries, floats, bands, old cars, new cars and small vehicles.
“We are extremely excited with the turnout this year, we have many new entries, and the parade has grown for four consecutive years,” said Kelly Slay, parade co-chair.
The parade will start at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, beginning at McDonald’s at New Midland Plaza. It will go through New Midland Plaza then turn right onto Calderwood Avenue (North Cusick Street in Maryville). At the top of the hill (downtown Maryville), it will turn right onto West Broadway Avenue, and right onto West Lamar Alexander Parkway ending before New Providence Presbyterian Church. The Jaycees anticipate over 30,000 spectators will watch the parade travel through Maryville and Alcoa.
The Jaycees have selected Tom Bogart, president of Maryville College to serve as the Grand Marshal. Maryville College has been celebrating their bicentennial all year long. The college and the Jaycees recognize the long lasting relationship between town and gown. Moreover, the Jaycees are excited to have the college be represented not only by Bogart, but also members of the collegiate student government association (SGA) at Maryville College. The college’s history is an integral part of the community and the school’s bicentennial is a major milestone for the community.
All entries should begin lining up at 9 a.m. Saturday at Joule Street or Rankin Road. Parents dropping off children should do so no later than 10 a.m. at the four-way stop at Joule Street and Rankin Road, Carrel Street beside the old Alcoa Police Department, or Rankin/Bessemer intersection.
Estimated placement of entries numbered 1-15 in East Tennessee Medical Group parking lots located on the Joule Street entrance, 16-49 will be parked on the right side of Joule Street, 50–75 will be on the right side of Rankin Road starting at the entrance of the medical group; No. 68, the Alcoa High School band will meet in the medical group’s parking lot on Joule Street side; 76-89 will line up on the left side of Joule Street; 90-125 will line up on the left side of Rankin Road (the old AUB parking lot will hold the horse trucks).
Only the dignitaries and Jaycee official vehicles will be allowed to park in the East Tennessee Medical Building parking lot. The only vehicles allowed on the lineup side of Joule Street and Rankin Road are entries that are numbered to be on those particular roads. Entries on Joule Street should enter from Hall Road turning onto Joule Street (south end of Walgreens). Entries numbered to be on Rankin road can only enter Rankin from Bessemer street (some parking is available at the intersection of Rankin/Bessemer).
Jaycee officials encourage groups to meet at a location close to Rankin or Joule streets, put all of the children on the float, make final preparations and then leave with caution to the lineup area. One parking lot close to the lineup area is located on Bessemer across from the old Alcoa City Building lot.
Anyone who is trying to access Knoxville Pediatric Association or East Tennessee Medical Group will enter onto Joule Street from Hall Road (next to Walgreens) proceed to the four-way stop, turn left or right to enter the appropriate facility. Everyone will exit via Rankin Road to Lincoln Road. It is important to note that no other vehicles other than the vehicles on the parade lineup will be allowed on the roadways. All materials, supplies, etc. must be carried or driven in/on vehicles in parade prior to their arrival at their marked locations.
Early weather reports indicate partly cloudy weather with the temperature in the upper 50s to start off the morning. In the event of bad weather forecast for the start time of the parade, the decision concerning a time change will be made by Friday evening. Parade participants and spectators can text 81010 with the message @BCJCP19 to receive remind texts or follow Blount County Jaycees on Facebook for this year’s parade.
Empty Pantry Sheet Carriers
Once again, representatives of the Jaycees and Alcoa Jayteens (Junior Jaycees) will be carrying sheets along the parade route to collect monetary donations for Empty Pantry Fund. During the past, the sheet carriers have collected well over $21,00 dollars from spectators at the parade. “Every penny, nickel, dime and quarter along with those dollars add up over the course of the parade,” explained Lon Fox, president of the Empty Pantry Fund. “It is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to have an impact on someone’s life during Christmas, because no one deserves to go hungry for Christmas.”
The Jaycees will recognize the following categories: Most Thematic, Most Creative, Best Vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, four-wheeler, etc.), Best Youth Organization, Best Religious and Best Business entries. Tennessee Jaycee guests will judge all entries before the start of the parade. Each winner will receive a Christmas ornament and an invitation to a reception on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Alcoa Middle School (formerly Alcoa High School). At the reception, the Jaycees will recognize the top three overall Entries into the parade; each one will receive an additional plaque and a free entry into the 2020 Jaycees Christmas Parade. Winners will receive a certificate/invitation to the awards reception at the parade.