The 2019 Mount Olive Christmas Parade set to be held on Dec. 7 will follow a new route.
Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce President Julie Beck, Mayor Joe Scott, Town Manager Charles Brown, Fire Chief Greg Wiggins and Police Chief Tommy Brown made a joint decision to bring the parade back downtown.
“Our goal is to revitalize downtown Mount Olive and the best way to do that is to have events there and drive traffic to our beautiful downtown,” Beck said. “The five of us met to determine the best route that would be conducive for parade participants, parade attendees and our citizens. We are excited about this new route. In addition, this parade route is 1.3 miles from start to finish, considerably shorter than our previous route.”
Parade participants will start lining up at 9 a.m. with the parade commencing at 10 a.m. The Wayne County Sheriffs Honor Guard will lead the procession, followed by the yet-to-be-named grand marshal, more than 100 entries and special appearance by Santa Claus (Ronnie Southerland).
The parade lineup will occur on Bell Avenue and College Street with the official start of the parade starting at College Street, at the intersection of College and Church streets.
The parade route will travel down College Street, cross the train track and turn left onto Center Street (Ribeyes side). At Pollock Street, the parade route will turn left over the train track and continue down the other side of Center Street (Southern Bank side) to James Street. Parade traffic will turn right onto James Street and disperse. Parade participants who need to be picked up after the parade can meet in the town hall parking lot located at 114 E. James St.
Please note, no cars will be allowed to park on Center Street from College to Pollock streets to allow room for the floats, marching bands, fire trucks and the other parade entries. Parade attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to sit along Center Street and watch the parade.
Parade participants will line up on Bell Avenue (near Carver Elementary School) and College Street (near Maplewood Cemetery). All parade traffic must enter the parade lineup via Bell Avenue. To get to Bell Avenue, take N.C. Highway 55 East toward Seven Springs, turn right onto Old Seven Springs Road toward Carver Elementary School (at the intersection with East Coast Service) and turn left onto Bell Avenue. Bands, commercial floats and other large entries will line up on North Johnston Street and be funneled into the parade route. All parade participants will have this new route emailed to them.
Ten people will have an opportunity to ride in the Pickle Train, owned by the Friends of the Parks, during the Mount Olive Christmas Parade. If interested in riding in the Pickle Train, contact Josh Phillips, Mount Olive Parks & Recreation director, at 919-738-2602. Friends of the Parks charge $10 per person to ride in the parade and the first 10 people will reserve their seats. Funds raised will be used for projects at Nelson Street and Westbrook Parks.
Prior to the Christmas parade, the Mount Olive Chamber will have a pancake breakfast at the Mount Olive Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Santa Claus will make an appearance at the pancake breakfast from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. Plates including three pancakes, two pieces of sausage, two pieces of bacon and a drink will be sold for $7 each. Tickets can be pre-purchased at the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce office at 123 N. Center St.
Parade entry applications are available at the chamber office, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline to submit applications is Nov. 15. Entries received after Nov. 15 will be charged a $30 late fee. The parade entry fees are as follows:
Vehicle/Homemade Float/Dune Buggy: fees for nonprofits — $35; commercial fees — $55
Motorcycles/ATVs/Golf Carts/Bicycles: fees for nonprofits — $15 per vehicle; nonprofit group fees — $80 (maximum of 10 vehicles); commercial fees — $20 per vehicle
Horse Group/Nonmotorized Group: one horse — $15; group fee — $40 (maximum of five horses, then an additional $5 for each extra horse)
Walking Groups: per group — $50
Emergency Vehicles/Elected Officials/Partners in Education/Marching Bands: No charge
For more information on the Mount Olive Christmas parade, call the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce at 919-658-3113.