The deadline for entering the Vilonia Christmas Parade, to be held at 5 p.m., December 7, is November 15. The theme for the event is "I’ll be Home for Christmas."
"It is something that everyone wants to do—be home for Christmas," said parade committee chairman Keith Hillman and also the city’s fire chief. "I think it is a good theme."
The parade will follow the same route as last year. It will begin at the city park and travel on Highway 64, through the downtown area, to the Vilonia High School parking lot. Floats will need to be lit up reflecting the theme, Hillman said. And, the one and only Santa Claus will be ushered in on the fire truck. Everyone is invited to participate and there is no entry fee.
Multiple people riding on a float should meet elsewhere and ride in on the float to the staging area at the city park, said Chief of Police Brad McNew.
All floats and other entries have to be at the park by 4:45 p.m., McNew said, adding that the road to the park will be shut down for safety reasons at that time. Those wishing to walk in to the park may do so by traveling Industrial Drive, parking in the vicinity of Vilonia Water Department. However, driving in to the park has no access from the Industrial Drive location.
Dr. Frank Mitchell, superintendent of the Vilonia School District, will serve as the grand marshal. The announcer’s grandstand will be located in the front of Vilonia Realty in the downtown area.
Applications may be picked up or dropped off at the Vilonia City Hall. Or, you may obtain application forms or additional information by calling Jill Bonnema 501-499-1312 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city will provide awards in various categories as well as an overall award with the winners be chosen by out of town judges. Horses and four-wheelers will not be permitted.
The festivities will not end with the parade. The Museum of Veterans and Military History is holding a Soup Supper and Auction afterward at the high school cafeteria. Beginning at 5 p.m., parade goers can warm up with a bowl of homemade soup, cornbread muffins, homemade desserts, tea and coffee for $5.
Shoppers can begin the silent bidding on the items up for bid that Saturday morning. The live auction will begin at 6:30 p.m. In the spirit of giving, many have donated items for the event with all the proceeds going to the museum.
Compliments of the Vilonia Fire Department and Mike Harwood of MLC Photography, Santa Claus will sprint from the Christmas parade to the high school cafeteria where he will be available to pose with children. Harwood will take complimentary photos and process them on site at no charge, allowing parents to walk away with a memory. As well, parents will be allowed to take photographs and do their own processing.