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Tourism authority to provide administrative help for new holiday parade

SALISBURY — Work toward a new holiday parade for Salisbury and Spencer is well underway, with planners forming key partnerships with community players.

Last week, the developing nonprofit organization ‘Tis the Season Spectacular partnered with the Rowan County Tourism Development Authority as its administrative clearinghouse.

“Being a new committee, obviously there’s not an office,” said Hen Henderlite, a member of the parade’s newly formed media and fundraising committee. “There’s no go-to person. We needed to have someone to answer the phone, to dispense the information, to receive not only the entry fees but the moneys that go with the entry fees.”

The authority will serve as the point of contact starting Sept. 4. It will also host a website for the parade that will provide all forms for entries, sponsorships and parade rules.

Henderlite and fundraising committee member Shari Graham said some of the details are ironed out: entry fees and sponsorship levels and perks, for example.

Other details are being worked out through the group’s many committees: marshaling, bands, judging, dignitaries and queens, reservations and logistics, to name a few.

Parade organizers are working to define their vision for this year’s parade, including thorough rules and a mission statement. Both will help define the parade’s rebirth as a more inclusive, family- and community-focused event, said Henderlite.

“We’re not even sure if ‘inclusive’ is the right word,” said Henderlite. “It’s more we want a parade that’s reflective of our community.”

Organizers say residents can look for informational posters to be displayed at area businesses soon.

There will also be announcements on local radio stations.

Reserved seating will still be available for a small fee, with 1,000 seats in Salisbury and 500 in Spencer.

Entry fees will begin at $100 for a regular entry and $250 for a commercial entry, and they will cap at $695 for a professional float. Registry for entries will close Nov. 4.

‘Tis the Season planners have a goal of 140 floats, said Henderlite.

She and Graham are also well underway soliciting sponsors, with a goal of raising $30,000 to cover parade costs.

“We have a lot of asks out,” said Graham. “The great thing is we’ve had nobody say, ‘No, we’re not going to be involved.’ Everyone has asked to see our information.”

They hope to secure and release the name of a “star” sponsor soon, a slot available to only one for $10,000.

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