By CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
With the turn of the calendar page to November, that means the holiday season is almost upon us. A time to gather family close and celebrate the spirit of togetherness.
For some, that means worrying about loved ones who are serving in the military overseas. For those folks, there’s no greater feeling than when their soldier gets to come home just in time for these seasonal festivities.
That’s the idea local organizers had in mind when choosing this year’s theme for the always-beloved downtown Christmas Parade — “I’ll Be Home For Christmas (A Tribute to the Troops).”
This year’s parade will be held on Saturday, December 1.
Bobby Clue, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, credited the cooperative efforts of a multi-faceted planning committee consisting of the Chamber, Downtown Somerset Development Corporation, Somerset-Pulaski County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Pulaski County Fiscal Court and the City of Somerset with helping make the idea a reality.
“We all have a combined vision of working together to have a Christmas extravaganza,” said Clue. “It started last year when we decided to put the Christmas Parade and tree lighting ceremony together.
“Everybody on the committee thought that a tribute to the troops was a very fitting theme,” he added. “This town supports the military in a great way.”
As such, Clue is hopeful that those who enter floats into the parade will get into the spirit of things and adopt some kind of reference to the military notion.
“It’s open for interpretation,” he said. “Everybody has their own idea of what that will mean.
“The local ROTC units will play a bigger part and be more visible than in years past,” he continued. “Hopefully, the floats will have a lot of stars and stripes.”
The parade will be at 5 p.m. and will be immediately followed by the Downtown Somerset Development Corporation (DSDC) Tree Lighting Celebration at 7 p.m.
This year, due to planned renovation on the Fountain Square set to begin while the tree would normally still be up, the Christmas Tree will stand on the plaza of the Pulaski Court of Justice, adjacent to the square. This year’s activities will be held in that area too during the ceremony, which will include music, words from local public officials, and more.
Gib Gosser, executive director of the DSDC, said that attendees can expect a “red, white and blue Christmas,” suggesting a patriotic theme.
“It’s been (a popular event) for probably better than 50 years,” said Gosser. “Downtown is the heart of the community even more this year.”
Tiffany Bourne, Community Development Director for Pulaski County, is on the hunt for the perfect tree and hopes to have one selected by next week. Anyone wishing to offer her suggestions may reach Bourne at 606-875-6732.
Anyone wishing to enter a float in the parade should contact the Chamber of Commerce office at 606-678-7323. The Chamber is looking for all bands, cheerleaders, ROTC units, girl scouts, boy scouts, civic clubs, youth athletic teams, churches, cars, dogs, horses and anyone else interested in participating in this year's parade.
“This is one of the most exciting events of the year for us,” said Clue.