Tuesday was the last day to officially enter the parade, which begins at Big John’s Closeouts at 6 p.m. Saturday and proceeds through downtown on East Elk Avenue to the Veterans Monument.
The Chamber said 78 units have entered the parade. That includes six marching bands: Cloudland High School, Elizabethan High School, Hampton High School, Happy Valley High School, T.A. Dugger Junior High School and Unaka High School.
In addition to marching bands, a good parade needs floats, and the Chamber said there will be 25 floats in the parade.
As far as groups, there are 20 businesses entered; 13 churches, including a singing group; six civic organizations; five county organizations; and three dance teams. There will also be 75 vehicles cruising in the parade, including the Elizabethan Fire Department ladder truck with Santa riding on top at the end of the parade.
The theme of this year’s parade is “Christmas Around the World.” The grand marshal also has some pretty big numbers — it is Milligan College and the college’s international students.
“We are proud that Milligan College is in Carter County,” said Chamber of Commerce Director Tonya Stevens. “The college does so much for our county and it brings in international students with so many diverse backgrounds.”
One final big number that Stevens discussed was the 3,000 to 5,000 people that are expected to line the parade route to enjoy the big parade and to welcome the return of Santa.