The weatherman calling for a dip in the thermometer and snow flurries during Friday evening’s Christmas Parade at Camp Jordan Park, will not effect the parade’s schedule.
Stump Martin, the Director of Parks and Recreation, said Friday that he was delighted that snow was falling in East Ridge during the late morning hours.
“I think this is fantastic,” Martin said. “It really feels like Christmas.”
The Christmas-like weather will just add to the atmosphere and parade goers can ward off the chill by sipping hot chocolate around a bonfire at the amphitheater.
Brian Scott, who along with Robert Padgett spearheaded efforts to hold the parade, said Friday at noon that the forecast is for the snow to move out of the area by mid-afternoon. Scott said people have been calling him concerned that the weather may put a stop to the parade.
Scott said the parade will go forward as scheduled beginning tonight at 7 p.m. The parade route will begin just inside Camp Jordan Park at the RV area and proceed through the park to the amphitheater. At the end of the procession, there will be live entertainment at the amphitheater by Cody McCarter, officials said.
McCarver, a Dunlap, Tennessee native, spent 12 years in the award-winning country music band Confederate Railroad. Joining McCarver will be other area recording artists for the Christmas-themed concert.
On November 18, the East Ridge Christmas Parade, traditionally the first to be held in the region, was forced to be cancelled due to threatening weather sweeping across Southeast Tennessee. At that time city officials said there was no contingency plan to have the parade at a later date. Officials said there would be too many conflicts in scheduling for parade participants to take part in a make-up parade.
Scott, the owner of East Ridge Electrical Contractors, and Padgett, the owner of Mr. Grinch’s Tattoos, wouldn’t accept that answer, and began with the help of a few other folks coordinating a parade of their own.
Scott said that about 25 representatives of organizations and individuals were present at a planning meeting last week at the East Ridge Community Center. He said he has commitments from about 40 individuals/organizations to either march or enter floats in the re-scheduled parade.
“All we really ever wanted to do was bring this community together and have a parade for the kids,” Scott said.
Scott said that parade participants include Mayor Brent Lambert and members of the East Ridge City Council, American Legion Post 95 and dozens of individuals and organizations who built Christmas-themed floats for the Nov. 18 parade. He has a tentative commitment from the Shriners. Unfortunately, Scott said, the East Ridge High School Marching Band had a scheduling conflict and won’t be able to participate.
Martin said Camp Jordan Parkway will be closed from Chickamauga Creek to Camp Jordan Road at the park’s back gate. Parade participants should start lining up by 5 p.m. Martin said that judges will present three awards to special floats and parade entrants.