ARCHDALE — An annual holiday tradition returns to Archdale next week when the Christmas parade will make its way down the streets from O’Reilly Auto Parts on North Main Street to Archdale Elementary.
The parade, sponsored by Bethany Medical, will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the parade will feature three special grand marshals. In 1971, Sherman Staton, along with Larry Boyles and Ron Hoover, founded the Archdale Christmas Parade.
All three of those men, who served as members of the Archdale-Trinity Jaycee Club, will headline the slate of participants.
“[Staton’s] daughter, Sherry Staton, told me about a month ago that this is the 50th year of the parade,” said J.D. Peace, president of the SerCo Club of Archdale-Trinity. “When she told me that, I thought, ‘Well, goodness, we’ve got to do something special.’ These three gentlemen who started the parade are going to be the grand marshals for this year’s parade.”
Before there were marching bands and dance clubs, as will be featured in this year’s event, there were homemade floats and a group of fervent volunteers who made what is now an annual parade possible. Sherman Staton said he remembers the events that led up to the inaugural gathering and the immediate inquiries that began rolling in.
“It was in October , I think, when I started talking about it,” Staton said. “We had about 30 or 40 members. Most of us seemed to think it was too late in the year to organize it for that same year. Me and the two guys kept on with it, and we were the ones who got an article in the paper that we were wanting to have it. We asked for some floats, horses and whoever wanted to be in the parade. We didn’t know how to do it, so we just said whoever wants to be in there can be in there.”
Within a week, Staton said the club had a lot of responses from residents who were interested in being in that first parade. The event’s founder said he just felt like Archdale deserved the attention that a parade would bring.
In 2021, Peace said that tradition will carry on with a bagpipe player at the front of the parade, floats, dance clubs, music groups, car clubs, horses and a few grand exhibitions from local organizations. He said Spookywoods will showcase an element of its new Christmas attraction and 50th anniversary parade T-shirts will be distributed as long as supplies last.
As is customarily the case, an appearance from Santa Claus will conclude the parade. The presenting sponsor, Bethany Medical, is holding a grand opening immediately following the procession.
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.