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Christmas parade organizers unveil website, mission statement

SALISBURY — Welcome or not, the looming holiday season is already making its presence known in retail and hospitality spaces nationwide.

Stores have replaced back-to-school specials with aisles dedicated to Halloween. Christmas trees and decorations have debuted at crafts stores, and the pumpkin spice craze is kicking up across the nation.

Organizers of the new Salisbury-Spencer holiday parade offered their own nod toward that magical time of year Tuesday with the launch of their website.

The site, visitsalisburync.com/holidayparade, contains — or will contain, according to organizers Hen Henderlite and Shari Graham — all things “‘Tis the Season Spectacular.”

Details include sponsors, information on reserving seats and entry forms. Most pointedly, it bears the Spectacular’s newly honed mission and entry statements.

“The mission statement is totally new,” said Henderlite.

Graham added that it’s more reflective of “present times.”

According to the statement, the mission of the parade committee is to “present the citizens of Rowan County and surrounding areas a parade that is reflective of our community and captures the holiday spirit, provides high-quality entertainment, and emotes feelings of excitement to participants and viewers alike.”

Graham explained.

“The parade should just be about the kids and Santa Claus and fun and family,” she said. “That’s what we’re going for. … Anybody that has any other kind of agenda is not welcome. It’s just as simple as that.”

The vision of a light-hearted, family-centered parade is further defined in the committee’s entry statement. Participants are expected to provide appropriate family entertainment without promoting special interests, it says.

But the entry statement says the parade will be open to participants of all belief systems and welcomes a diversity of ideas that “portray the good will associated with the holiday season.”

Parade entries will be required to meet five standards:

• Reflect the intents and purposes of the mission and entry statements.

• Adhere to the rules and regulations.

• Present an attractive and holiday-themed appearance.

• Add to the parade’s overall entertainment value.

• Promote a family-friendly message.

Henderlite said ‘Tis the Season organizers worked to streamline the entry process for participants, cutting unnecessary regulations and expectations from the parade’s previous incarnation.

“We didn’t want to make it so difficult for participants,” said Graham. “At the same time, we had to have parameters and rules, so we kept them pretty succinct.”

Entries will be accepted through Nov. 2. Henderlite said organizers are trying to get a high number of entries with “entertainment value”: music, bands, acrobatic groups and the like.

“I think the goal for this year is to just have a really, really good and fun parade,” she said. “Then, if you think about it for a year and you’ve got the groundwork, then maybe next year can be a really spectacular parade.”

Henderlite and Graham each spoke of the possibility of additional “spectacular” activities that could accompany the parade in years to come: a carnival in the park or a hot meal or drink at the F&M Trolley Barn.

“Down the road, it could be more of a spectacular of other things attached to the parade,” said Henderlite. “But for right now, we’ll just be happy to get the parade down Main Street.”

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