Chuck and Jane Flohr have been consistent donors to the Gigantic Toy Giveaway, which follows the Grafton Christmas Parade each year. Jane is shown above with Nathaniel, Zachariah and Alexandria, as they drop of donations to this year’s parade. Besides dropping off packages, the Flohr’s made a cash donation to buy toys for the parade.
GRAFTON – The Grafton CVB (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau), the Grafton Fire Department and the Mountain Statesman have united their efforts for this year’s Grafton Christmas Parade and Gigantic Toy Giveaway.
“I really want to see a Norman Rockwell Christmas scene when I look at the Christmas festivities in town this year,” noted CVB secretary Peggy Barney.
The CVB extended the invitation to the Mountain Statesman in late summer to discuss their desires to expand the traditional parade. It was during that meeting that all three agencies came together to re-master the unique Taylor County Tradition, hoping to increase interest in the event.
CVB members include Brenda Thompson, G. Thomas Bartlett III, Peggy Barney, Mary Phillips, John “Casey” Jones, Kevin Stead and Larry Richman.
The main changes being made this year involve the Christmas Parade. It will still be on the first Saturday in December, which is this coming Saturday. The parade will be lining up at 6 p.m. on Yates avenue, between the Exxon and Grafton High School.
Grafton Police Chief Bobby Beltner has announced that for the safety of all parade participants, that the police department will be closing Yates Avenue at 5:30 p.m.
Parade participants wanting to participate in this year’s parade are encouraged to contact Bobby Jennings at the Mountain Statesman (304) 265-3333, or Dave Crimm at the Grafton Volunteer Fire Department (304) 265-1866.
Parade participants are asked to approach the parade lineup from Riverside Drive past Grafton High School. Crimm will have volunteer fireman along Yates Avenue to help in lining up the parade.
The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m., and travel across the Memorial City Bridge, up past the Grafton Post Office, down Main Street, and then turn left in front of the old B&O Station to go up Luzadder Street and behind the Mother’s Day Shrine.
Main Street will not be closed, until about 15 minutes before the parade begins.
The CVB has asked Chief Beltner to make sure that all cars are removed from Main Street for the parade. Organizers realize that this is a big change from year’s past, but hope that everyone understands that it is for the safety of the children and parade participants that they are asking that no cars be along Main Street.
Secondly, the CVB, fire department, and parade organizers ask that no candy be passed out during this year’s parade.
With the parade being after dark, everyone is concerned that a child will dart out to pick up candy along the parade route, and that the driver of one of the vehicles in the parade will not see them.
Those who traditionally pass out candy during the parade are asked to drop of their candy at the fire station before the parade. Volunteers will be working at the station to provide bags of candy to pass out to the children after the parade.
After Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the lot behind the Mother’s Day Shrine, they will join the Mayor Thomas G. Bartlett III and the Parade Marshall on the stage for the lighting of the Community Christmas tree.
After the tree is lit, and the choruses of church bells finish their announcement of the holiday’s arrival, Santa will lead the procession of children to the Grafton Fire Station for the Gigantic Toy Giveaway.
Everyone is reminded that in order to receive a toy during the Gigantic Toy Giveaway, you first must be registered.
Registration forms have been printed in the Mountain Statesman all last week, as well as, in today’s issue.
A registration form can also be found in the November 24 edition of the Taylor County Value Guide.
All Gigantic Toy Giveaway registration forms must be turned in at the Mountain Statesman’s front office by 5 p.m. today, Nov. 26.
Everyone registered for the toy giveaway is reminded that you have to be present to get your gift.
Visitors to the Grafton Christmas parade will notice several changes that have been made along its course this year.
Business, such as Somethin’ County and the Quilting Bee, will be hosting their Christmas Open Houses. The CVB has also arranged to have carolers walking the city streets before the parade. The B&O Station will also be home to model train display.
In addition to providing the Parade Marshall for this year’s parade, Arch Coal will be setting up a tent near the community Christmas tree to serve hot coco.
“It sounds like the ‘Hometown Christmas’ that we have been trying to create all along,” commented Barney and she review the group’s achievements.
Events throughout the day in Grafton include: Breakfast with Santa at the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars); the Annual Craft Show hosted by the Grafton High School Bearcat Band that will last from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and then Main Street Open House with the Christmas Parade and Gigantic Toy Giveaway to follow.