Marion Christmas parade set for Sunday

Colorful floats and festive vehicles will adorn this year’s Marion Christmas parade. (File photo)

The 2013 Marion Christmas parade will take place Sunday afternoon.

The parade will start at 3 p.m. Sunday. It will kick off holiday activities in the city of Marion. The parade is organized by the Marion Business Association and sponsored by the city of Marion.

The theme for the parade and the Christmas season is “Blessings of Service.”

The Marion Christmas parade’s grand marshal is retired educator Dr. Jim Gorst, the personification of service. He served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps with duty in both Korea and Vietnam. After considering a career in law enforcement, Gorst discovered his life's calling in education. He served as an educator for 31 years, with 20 years as principal of Eastfield Elementary School. During his service at Eastfield, Gorst has many outstanding accomplishments but the two he is most proud of are: successfully transferring the school to a year-round school and the creation and implementation of the McSmiles Mobile Class Room, both which continue to be strong award winning programs.

Gorst received numerous awards during his career at Eastfield, including two awards from N.C. Governor's Program for Excellence in Education, awards from Business Week Award for Innovative Teaching for Mobile Classroom, Executive Educator Profiles in Excellence in Innovation Instruction, USA Today's Community Solutions for Education, Governors' Entrepreneurial Award and Top Twenty Five Most Improved Schools in North Carolina, just to name a few.

Gorst is also received awards from Boy Scouts of America, Swamp Fox District and has written and had published numerous articles and a book on education. He has not only served the community in his chosen profession of education, but also served on the United Way Board, Boy Scouts Executive Board and in various offices of his church.

As a 20-year career military veteran and 31 years as an educator, Jim Gorst lives his motto: "I believe in leading by example, inspiring others to be successful and promoting good will and harmony...”

Marion is proud to honor Jim Gorst and wife, Gerry, as the 2013 Christmas Parade marshal.

McDowell’s own award-winning McDowell High Marching Band will be featured at the beginning of the parade. They have recently won several band competitions. Hillcrest Marching Band will also be in the parade.

All parade float entries are required to be registered. The registration number is to be displayed in the window of the parade entry, be fully decorated with a Christmas theme and have all passengers loaded when arriving for parade line-up. Deadline for registration is Thursday, Nov. 21. Any entry not registered with a number and decorated will be turned away at line-up.

Antique cars are not required to be decorated or pre-register.

Emergency vehicles with PA systems are encouraged to play Christmas music.

No candy is allowed to the thrown from any vehicle or float. Handouts by persons walking in the parade route are acceptable and encouraged.

The MBA and the city of Marion will sponsor the only Santa Claus. No other Santa will be allowed in the parade. Churches may have only one bus/unit in the parade and it must be decorated.

Line-up begins at 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Rose’s. All parade vehicles are to enter Robinson Road behind Rose’s and come into the parking lot. Vehicles will then be entered into line-up.

Horses will lineup on Monte Vista Avenue. Horse trailers are to be taken to the Public Works Department behind the Hook & Anchor. Horses will continue together as a unit to Public Works. All horses are to remain on Monte Vista and Bakersville Road until placed into line-up. No horses are allowed in the shopping center parking lot.

The parade procession will begin at Fern Street and North Main Street and will finish at Spring Street. Walking units will enter the parade at the Community Building. The parade is to stay together until it reaches Morgan Street and all entries are to go to the end of the parade route before disbanding. Children on floats are to be picked up at the Hook & Anchor on Rutherford Road.

The Marion Business Association is still accepting entries. Please contact Lou Godfrey at 652-2215 to register for the Christmas parade and receive a registration number, and a copy of the parade guidelines.

The city of Marion is the official sponsor of the parade.