PILOT MOUNTAIN — While other parades may have gotten a little more fanfare, few kicked up more enthusiasm as the one held recently in Pilot Mountain, one of the oldest such parades in the region.
Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad and EMS served as hosts for the town’s 46th annual parade, which made its way through the streets of Pilot Mountain Dec. 3. A massive crowd of participants gathered at East Surry High School before beginning their festive trek through town at 6 p.m.
“We had perfect weather for a parade,” noted Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad representative Chris Wall. “And that helped participation and turn-out. We had an excellent crowd on hand with the street full from one end of town to the other.”
According to Wall, the final count of 148 entries was near the record for the event.
“And everything went well,” he noted. “We had a lot of good creative floats with a lot of lights and imagination used. It was a great night.”
An assortment of local churches and businesses were on hand, including many with floats. Among the highlights, Wall noted, was a spectacular entry from Rancho La Herradura and Eagle Carports, combining special effects with live music and holiday scenes in one large float.
A large contingent of classic vehicles was on hand along with vehicles from numerous area fire departments. Area troops and packs of both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were also represented.
Several dance teams helped to provide a festive atmosphere for the young and young-at-heart as did costumed holiday characters from classic children’s stories. Candies were distributed in plentiful quantities throughout the route.
In a departure from past parades, a second high school band was invited to take part. The East Surry High School Marching Band retained its traditional role at the front of the parade. Also on hand was the North Stokes High School Marching Band, performing during the later portion of the parade.
The parade presented a colorful array of the sights and sounds of the holiday season to a watching crowd that filled the downtown and spilled over into adjoining residential areas.
The evening began with the lighting of the Town of Pilot Mountain Christmas tree. A brief ceremony was held immediately prior to the parade, featuring a performance of several traditional favorite Christmas songs by the North Carolina Honors Chorus Alumni, under the direction of Sherri Collins.
Afterwards, Diane Blakemore of the host Pilot Mountain Tourism Development Authority, announced the winners of the holiday window decorating contest for downtown businesses. First place went to the Mount Pilot Country Store while Pamela’s Place and Steal in Style tied for second. The People’s Choice Award went to a new business, Need More Restore.
After the parade, Wall voiced his appreciation to everyone who was a part of the evening.
“We want to thank all those who came out,” he said, “and especially those who put the effort into their entries and in helping us make sure this was a good parade. That effort showed.”