By Harley Nefe
Families will be able to enjoy the beauty and spirit of the holiday season from the comfort and care of their cars this year with Watauga County Parks and Recreation’s drive-thru Christmas parade. This event is scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Watauga Community Recreation Center parking lot, located at 231 Complex Drive in Boone.
Visiting groups will be able to stay in the warmth of their cars with the opportunity to listen to holiday music while they follow a route to experience the different exhibits of parade floats and entertainers who will be set up in the parking lot for cars to drive by.
This event comes after an immensely popular Halloween drive-thru trunk or treat event that was also presented by Watauga County Parks and Recreation.
“The trunk or treat was such a huge success,” said Keron Poteat, Recreation Specialist II for Watauga County Parks and Recreation. “Families were happy and comfortable that they could stay in their cars and go through the event without having to worry about the spread of Covid and exposing their kids to folks they weren’t sure of.”
Due to the number of cars arriving at the Halloween trunk or treat event, traffic was backed up on State Farm Road and Boone Heights Drive and the surrounding areas. In preparation for the Christmas parade, Watauga County Parks and Recreation is working to make sure traffic keeps moving, and the Boone Police Department will assist with traffic control.
The idea for the drive-thru parade came from one of Poteat’s fitness instructors, and Poteat loved it. She then pitched the idea to Stephen Poulos, Director of Watauga County Parks and Recreation, and to Watauga County Manager Deron Geouque.
“He was super stoked since it’s not being offered anywhere else,” Poteat said.
Watauga County Parks and Recreation is currently seeking individuals, groups, businesses, churches and departments to fill their parking lot with parade vehicles, displays and entertainers. All parade exhibits will be stationary, and prizes will be awarded for the best holiday displays.
Poteat said they have been reaching out to different churches, fire departments, businesses and ski industries to get involved.
“We’re trying to hit everyone we can think of,” Poteat said. “We’re looking at marching bands, jazz ensembles — folks like that — trying to get Christmas carols.”
High Country Cloggers was the first group to already sign up to participate, so they’ll be dancing in their spots for the full two hours.
Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott will have a school bus with staff members, and they’ll be waving to folks as they go by during the event.
“Everything you would typically see in a parade, we’re hoping that you’ll see in our parking lot out here,” Poteat said, mentioning that Santa will also be present.
For more information or to reserve a space as a vendor, call 828-264-9511 or email Poteat at [email protected]. The set up time for vendors will be from 10-10:45 a.m. A registration form for vendors can be found here: Parade Vendors
In addition, the Watauga County Parks and Recreation’s website is https://rec.watgov.org as well as their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Watauga-County-Parks-and-Recreation-232565740490593.