By: Alyssa Harvey – Bowling Green Daily News
Southcentral Kentucky will march into the Christmas season with a series of parades.
The Bowling Green Jaycees Christmas Parade, “Christmas Traditions,” will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in downtown Bowling Green. The parade starts on the square at the intersection of Main Avenue and College Street in front of the old BB&T building. The parade will go up College Street to 12th Avenue, cross 12th and turn left on State Street and finish at Sixth Avenue and State Street.
“We’ve extended the route again,” said Mary-John Carmon, parade chairwoman. “We really need spectators not to be on College (Street) between Main and Eighth.”
There will be no television coverage of the parade, and it will be over in plenty of time for people to go to Western Kentucky University’s football game, Carmon said.
“If you want to see the parade, you have to be there Saturday morning,” she said.
The grand marshal is the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society. There are nearly 100 units in the parade – several are multiple-unit entries, Carmon said.
“This year I have so many floats. Usually I try to have a float, then a car, then a float, then a car. This year I have so many floats I can’t do that,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of first-timers. We’re very excited about that. We’re always excited about having our repeats.”
The parade has changed in the nearly 60 years it has existed, Carmon said.
“When I took it over 23 years ago, it was a lot of cars driving through,” she said. “Over the years we have tried to encourage float participation and encourage as much creativity as possible. We get to the point where we have more floats than just cars driving around.”
Another change is “A Miracle on College Street Mile,” a 1-mile fun run/walk on the parade route by Life’s Better Together. The timed event, which is sponsored by ServPro, starts with registration at 7:45 a.m. at Bowling Green Ballpark on Eighth Avenue followed by the run/walk at 9:15 a.m. Coffee will be provided by Spencer’s Coffee. The first 150 participants will receive a Santa hat. Preregistration can be done at the Life’s Better Together Facebook page or at active.com. Cost is $10 per person and $25 per family of four or more. The run/walk will finish at Booth Fire and Safety, 538 State St.
“We’re hoping to have a mile of these people in Santa hats running along the route before Santa comes in the parade,” said Danette Idlett, nonprofit Life’s Better Together founder. “It’s a run or walk for anybody. You can bring strollers. We welcome people of all ages. A mile is a great goal to get for young runners. Anybody can do a mile.”
Idlett said they got the idea for the run from a similar event in downtown Nashville called the Rudolph’s Red Nose Run 5K.
“They run the same route as the Christmas parade,” she said. “Everyone on the parade route cheers on the runners.”
Carmon is excited to partner with Life’s Better Together for the parade.
“We’re hoping this is the first of many years for that,” she said.
Other parades in the area
The 22nd annual Richardsville Christmas Parade will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday beginning at the Richardsville Community Center on Anderson Road. Lineup will be at 1 p.m.
The parade will go right on Ky. 263 to North Campbell Road and make a circle around Coles Kountry Store. It will then go back up Ky. 263 and turn right on Richardsville By-Pass. It will turn right on Ky. 263 before turning a quick right on Whalen Road and left on Threlkel Ferry in front of Jones Body Shop. The parade will turn left on Ky. 263 before heading back to the community center.
People who want to be in the parade “just show up,” said Jerry Young, county road supervisor, who lives in Richardsville. He’s expecting about 150 units this year.
“Most of the time we have horses, cars, trucks, four wheelers, motorcycles,” he said. “Sometimes we have floats.”
The first Christmas parade was just Santa, Young said.
“A bunch of us got together and rented a Santa suit. It was snowing that day and cold,” he said. “Everybody liked it, so we started having a Christmas parade at the same time. It’s gotten bigger and better every year.”
The sixth annual Boyce Christmas Parade will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Entry fee is a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. There will be a bonfire and refreshments after the parade. Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, is the grand marshal.
“Everybody’s amazed at the success we’ve made. The floats are from every place,” said Ron Thornton, who is on the board of the Boyce Community Center. “People come from everywhere. It’s a great success. Last year we had over 100 units.”
The parade goes along Ky. 240, beginning at Greenbriar Road and passing the Boyce Store. It ends at Boyce Community Center.
Thornton said part of the parade’s appeal is that it’s in the country.
“We have a lot of people who have been in it in the past,” he said. “People line the highway on both sides. We have a large turnout.”