By Harley Nefe
The Town of Beech Mountain will be hosting its inaugural Christmas parade and festival on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 4 p.m.
“It’s a little different timing than most parades are, but for Beech Mountain, that’s when all the people are really up here,” said Sean Royall, Executive Director of Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation. “They start coming up on Christmas week, and that’s why we are doing it that time rather than earlier in the month.”
The parade route will begin at Beech Mountain Ski Resort and finish past Town Hall. People should aim to get where they need to go by 3:30 p.m. because the roads will shut down with barricades around 4 p.m. for the start of the parade.
“It’s a parade to promote businesses and different people who are around,” Royall said.
Royall further said families, residents or anyone who would like to make a float and be in it is welcome. Being their first parade, they are not charging for floats this year and want a good turnout.
“Hopefully people will come out or set up a float or drive their car and decorate them,” Royall said.
Floats can be as simple as a decorated car to a fully decorated trailer.
All vehicles and floats that are participating in the parade must be lined up by 3:30 p.m. at Fire Station #1.
If someone is interested in being a part of the Christmas parade, they can call Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation at 828-387-3003 or email Assistant Director Kate Prisco at [email protected] for more information and to receive an application.
A link to the application can be also be found here: https://files.constantcontact.com/2f664d02201/1102ad98-b947-45b3-9c86-a8d2b5c14a32.pdf
The parade will take place rain or shine; however, it will be called off if there is snow due to the parade route being on a steep road with a lot of turns.
“Also, our fire department and police department are always busy if we get snow,” Royall said.
Royall further said they will watch the weather and know ahead of time if the event will be canceled.
“We want to have a parade for people to have something to do when they are up here, especially to get outside,” Royall said.
After the parade, the Town of Beech Mountain will be having a Christmas festival where people can take pictures with Santa Claus, roast marshmallows, do crafts and have fun with games and activities including a big inflatable obstacle course and night sledding.
Extra precautions are being taken to keep people safe.
Royall said they are still keeping in mind to keep everyone safe and distant.
The Town of Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation made the difficult decision to cancel its annual Holiday Market this year following the guidelines and policies set forth by the governor’s office.
“We had to cancel this year. It’s based on the capacity limit, and now that more limitations have been put on for 10 people in a room, we really have to say no to it,” Royall said.
North Carolina lowered the indoor gathering limit to 10 to slow the spread of COVID-19. The executive order went into effect today, Nov. 13.
The Holiday Market is not the only event in the High Country that has been canceled this holiday season. The Town of Blowing Rock and the Town of Boone decided to cancel their Christmas parades.
In addition to Beech Mountain’s Christmas parade and festival, Watauga County Parks and Recreation is hosting a drive-thru Christmas parade on Dec. 12 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Watauga Community Recreation Center parking lot.