By Jessica Isaacs
Photos by Ken Ketchie
The streets of downtown Boone were lined with bright smiles and cheerful colors as folks showed up in droves to enjoy the annual Christmas parade on Saturday. A huge crowd turned out to watch from the sidelines, and the parade featured many new and returning entries.
“We had a very large turnout. We had wonderful participation and an incredible amount of spectators,” said Pilar Fotta, director of cultural resources for the town. “The weather was beautiful and everyone was in a very festive mood.”
The parade left from the Watauga County Human Services building on the Poplar Grove Connector and traveled along King Street, ending in the parking lot of Legends on the ASU campus.
Downtown Boone Development Coordinator Virginia Falck said there were 50 entries in the parade this year, a higher number than the town has seen in several years.
“I’m delighted that more community members chose to participate in the parade this year,” Falck said. “We had a couple of first-timers, so that was good, and we had some groups that participate every year, so it was a really nice mix of people.”
Fotta, who rides through town in the very last car during the parade every year, said this year’s experience was filled with great holiday memories.
“I have to be honest, riding in the Christmas Parade and the Fourth of July parades are some of my favorite moments ever working here and doing this job,” Fotta said. “They’re the highlight of my year because everyone is so happy and it’s festive. I love to see everyone in the community coming out to support each other.
“I get to see families year after year and I get to see children grow. It’s amazing.”
Fotta said she and other town employees are grateful for the Watauga County commissioners, the county manager and Appalachian State for the use of their parking lots, which allowed the town to reverse the parade route this year.