Parade gets OK, money

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka

Kannapolis Citizen

Mayor Pro Tem Randy Cauthen said he covered 27 Christmas parades as a police officer and the experience left him as a strong proponent of daytime parades.

Cauthen and Councilman Richard Anderson said the city should investigate the possibility of a Saturday afternoon time for its Christmas parade this coming year.

This past December, the parade was held on a Tuesday night (Nov. 28).

Cauthen said night parades can be beautiful but Kannapolis doesn’t have adequate lighting in some sections of town to make it a success.

Having a nighttime parade in Kannapolis leads to fewer participants and a lower attendance, Cauthen argued. He also described the lack of lighting as bad for photographs.

There’s another problem:

“It’s not as safe,” the former police officer said.

Anderson agreed that safety is “a major issue” when putting on a nighttime parade. He expressed concern that the city financially supports the parade but Cabarrus Events Association chooses the day and time for it.

If Kannapolis is paying for the parade, it should be able to say when the parade is scheduled, Anderson said.

Discussion turned to the parade Monday night as council considered the Cabarrus Events Association’s annual request for $10,000 from the city. The funds, which were approved Monday, primarily go toward two Kannapolis events: the parade and Village Fest (formerly Cottonstock) in the spring.

Earlier this month, Anderson had raised questions about some of the financing behind the parade, charges for floats and fees to participants.

While he agreed to the $10,000 allocation Monday night, he still expressed concerns about the association’s total control over the event.

At one point, Anderson said he thought the city could put on the parade by itself and do it cheaper. He added the parade should be held on the Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving.

Mayor Bob Misenheimer and others disagreed that the city could stage a parade cheaper than what it’s paying Cabarrus Events Association.

Councilman Roger Haas described Cabarrus Events Association’s involvement in the Kannapolis events as a perfect public-private partnership. He said there was no way the city could put on the same quality parade, solicit sponsors and provide the manpower for what it’s costing the city now.

The events actually cost $30,000, so $10,000 is a bargain, Haas said.

If the city were to take over the parade, Haas added, he would want it to hire Brenda Drye, executive director of Cabarrus Events Association, to run it.

Haas also noted that Kannapolis isn’t even the biggest sponsor behind the Christmas Parade. Concord Telephone is. The time and date of the parade should not even be the city’s decision, Haas said.

“I think we’re a little overstepping our bounds,” he added.

Councilman Darrell Hinnant spoke in favor of continuing a night parade and said he had heard favorable comments about it. Night parades were a big attraction in his hometown, Hinnant recalled.

Hinnant agreed that some spots along Main Street are not well-lighted and encouraged the council to look at those areas. He also was against the city’s taking over the parade.

Drye said having a Saturday Christmas parade in Kannapolis “is not a dead issue.” But she said her group likes the nighttime event and thinks it can be improved.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools applauded the decision to have a nighttime parade, which meant students did not have to leave school early, Drye noted.

Drye said parades present a safety issue day or night.

Councilman R. Gene McCombs said he didn’t think a council meeting was the time to discuss whether the Christmas parade should he held during the day or night.

Councilman Ken Geathers said it would not be financially wise for the city to take over the parade or spring festival and encouraged his fellow members to leave things as they are.

Cauthen and Anderson asked for Misenheimer to consider appointing a committee to investigate the possibility of a daytime Saturday parade, but no action was taken.


In another city matter Monday, council agreed to the relocation of roughly 30 graves from a forgotten cemetery near the Kannapolis Parkway and N.C. 73 intersection.

Council authorized the relocation of the graves to Sunset Cemetery on Camp Julian Road Monday night.

A state statute allows for the relocation of graves in an abandoned cemetery if the property owner — in this case, Crescent Resources — secures permission from the appropriate government body.

Crescent Resources has development plans for the tract, which is 61 acres overall. Archaeologists identified at least 29 graves within a 4,900-square-foot portion of the site.

No engraved stones or markers were found, and no relatives came forward with any information or claims to the cemetery or people buried there.

As for the abandoned cemetery, Crescent Resources hired Of Grave Concerns, a consulting firm specializing in recording and developing preservation plans for cemeteries.

Ward Sutton, representing Of Grave Concerns, told council members Monday night that the state requires the remains of all identifiable graves to be placed in a box 24 inches long, 16 inches wide and 12 inches high.

Sutton said everything left within the “old graves” had compressed over the years into the bottom 2 or 3 inches of the graves. Those remains represent things such as teeth, bone fragments, nails, buttons, pins, etc.

When the company relocates the boxes to Sunset Cemetery, it is allowed to place five boxes into each burial vault.

The company must make maps, showing from where the remains were taken and where they were replaced. Those papers will be filed with the Register of Deeds office.

Crescent Resources must pay all the expenses. It will furnish a marker for Sunset Cemetery describing where the graves had been located, how many were moved and when the relocation occurred.

Sutton said he expected the relocation of the graves to start in about 30 days. He volunteered to notify the council members when the work started.

“If I’m not here, go ahead without me,” Misenheimer said.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or