Coming Saturday: The Kinston Christmas parade
Queen Street will be filled with holiday spirit this weekend, as the annual Kinston Christmas parade will fill downtown with color and cheer.
Pride of Kinston Director Leon Steele said there are around 80 entrants in the parade this year who will make their way down Queen Street Saturday morning, leaving from Grainger Stadium at 10 a.m.
There will also be a different element in the parade this year, Steele said, with 18 of the surprises being carried in the parade — but folks will have to come out to see what it is.
The parade is a joint effort between the Pride of Kinston and Kinston-Lenoir County Parks and Recreation Department. Recreation Superintendent Scott Alston said one of the main attractions in the parade will be the local high school marching bands who will participate.
In addition to the bands, Steele said many of the entrants are a mystery until they arrive at the staging area.
“Many of them seem real excited about the push we’ve made to get people to think more in terms of a Christmas parade and get festive with it so we’re happy about that,” he said.
Another element that will provide extra excitement among the younger crowd is the fact Steele said this year participants are being allowed to throw things from the floats after several years of being strongly discouraged from doing so. That means kids can expect some candy heading their way, though Steele said Pride is responsible for cleaning up afterwards, so he asked everyone to pitch in and help.
The review stand for the judges will be at the Kinston Enterprise Center, 327 N. Queen Street, and Steele said that would be one of the best places to view the parade. The judges will be handing out trophies for the best floats in different categories, as well as one for best of the best.
The review stand will also be the location of the Neuse News Facebook Live stream of the parade, hosted by B.J. Murphy, Martha Bishop and Bryan Hanks.
Watch the Live stream here: www.NeuseNews.TV
Steele said there will be plenty of exciting things to see, with roller derby girls, a costume doggy parade, motorcycle clubs, and a Santa cow. Kinston Mayor Don Hardy will serve as Grand Marshal for the parade.
Residents who enjoy the annual Christmas parade may be excited to hear that Pride of Kinston is currently exploring the idea of having a Mardi Gras parade to celebrate that season as well. Steele said the idea is still in the beginning stages, but there has been a great deal of interest. He hopes to get the event running, along with a Mardi Gras Bar Crawl and a Mardi Gras Ball to serve as fundraisers for Pride of Kinston.
If you can’t make it out to Queen Street Saturday morning, you don’t have to miss out on the fun, since the entire event will be live streamed on the Neuse News Facebook page. Tune in at 10 a.m. on Saturday, or come out and enjoy it in person.