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Christmas parades set

Children and other fans of local Christmas parades will be thrilled this weekend, as annual holiday caravans will be held on the Poarch Creek Indians reservation and in downtown Atmore on successive nights.

Participants in the Poarch parade, which is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, weave traditional Native American costumes and decorations into their Christmas presentations. The Poarch event’s theme wasn’t announced but it usually mirrors that of Atmore’s, allowing several Poarch groups to compete for trophies in both events.

Several hundred reservation residents and visitors are expected to line the PCI parade route, which begins at Poarch Creek Gymnasium on Lynn McGhee Drive and winds its way to Lavan Martin Assisted Living Facility on Buford Rolin Drive.

Atmore’s Twilight Christmas Parade traditionally draws more than 10,000 spectators, many of whom begin gathering along city sidewalks and in the yards of private homes, churches and businesses along the two-miles-plus parade route several hours prior to the parade’s onset.

“All of Atmore is invited to come line the streets from start to finish, enjoy the parade and just come together as a town,” said Brandy Giger, president-elect of Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the parade each year.

The event will get under way at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, at Atmore City Hall. Like last year, participants will head down Ridgeley Street to Main Street and continue southward on Main to Lindbergh Avenue. The parade will then travel down Lindbergh until it crosses Presley Street and ends at Escambia County High School’s parking lot.

The theme for 2017 is “The Traditions of Christmas,” and floats or other entries will be decorated to represent various traditions that have stood the test of time and remained a part of the holiday.

The incoming Chamber president said 52 different businesses, churches, civic clubs and other groups applied to take part in Saturday’s parade. She said she expected no less of a crowd to view this year’s Christmas spectacle than has been on hand for past parades and noted that the atmosphere surrounding the parade was one of the reasons people flocked to view it.

“We are expecting around 10,000 people again this year,” said Giger. “The Christmas parade is always a good one, especially for the children. Everybody’s in a good mood, and the atmosphere is always festive.”