GREENBRIER — The Greenbrier Christmas parade route has been expanded for the first time in 17 years.

Stepping off at Eastside Elementary school parking lot Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m., it will wind through the Sagebrush subdivision via Weatherwood Drive and Golden Leaf Drive, then back to Wilson Farm Road to make a circle around the Greenbrier Municipal Building and City Event Center. That jolly old fellow (alias Garth Martin) will arrive atop a big red fire engine and is one of the highlights of the parade. He will be available for pictures in the Event Center afterward and will make a guest appearance at the tree lighting ceremony. This annual event is sponsored jointly by the City of Greenbrier and the Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce.

Greenbrier’s All-Conference football coach Randy Tribble will be the Grand Marshall with the Panther football team on a float behind him. The Greenbrier High School Marching Band will add to the joy of the evening. Unlike last year’s soggy parade, the weather promises to be clear but crisp, and kids of all ages are excited about this year’s theme, "Christmas Bells Are Ringing." An alternate plan for bad weather will be decided by 4:30 p.m. Entries are coming in fast for floats, special cars, horses, buggies, tractors, and specials; but there is still room for more if you enter by Dec. 4. All parade entries will be judged and ribbons awarded at the tree lighting ceremony.

The Greenbrier Lions Club sponsors a chili cook-off that will be judged at 5 p.m. in the City Event Center by radio announcer, JR Runyon from Y107.1. Tasting is open to the public from 5-6 p.m. for a donation to fund their good works throughout the year. The work of the Lions is a well-kept secret because their constitution mandates they spend no money for advertising. Lions are known for helping visually impaired and providing eye glasses and/or eye exams for children and adults in need in our community throughout the year. Don McMillan, President, said, "Last year we gave four $500 college scholarships to worthy Greenbrier students and we hope to do the same again this Spring." Contact 501-679-1576 for an application.

Kids are looking forward to seeing Maize, the police department’s blonde K-9 Officer, light the tree this year. The sixteen foot Eastern Red Cedar tree is donated by Bill Tyler and will be hoisted by the Forestry Commission workers on Wednesday. The Greenbrier City Workers, with the help of their "bucket" and Chamber Ambassadors, will place the lights on Thursday.

Be sure to bring your cameras and chairs to line the parade route and enjoy all the special activities this year starting at the City Event Center, 5 Lois Lane, for chili. To enter your prize chili in the contest or to enter the parade, call 501-472-7083 or e-mail for an entry form.