Sharon Marr, executive director of MainStreet Cleveland, said Friday’s kickoff of the Christmas events will lead to the parade Saturday.
“Marching bands filling the air with music, lights — lots and lots of lights including one float which has 20,000 lights as part of its decoration will be featured in the annual Christmas parade,” Marr said.
A 1927 Packard automobile which traveled the streets of Cleveland many Christmases ago, will also be among the parade participants.
The Packard, once owned by the late John B. Fillauer and purchased in 2011 by the Allan Jones Foundation, will be unveiled to the general pubic at the parade on Saturday night, according to Toby Pendergrass of Jones Management.
“To get the Packard ready for the Christmas parade, we put the car through a complete restoration project,” Jones said. “Every detail of the car is as close to original as possible. The car was taken down to its base material and each component was rebuilt.
“The people of Cleveland deserve the very best,” Jones said. “This car is a piece of living history. We hope everyone will enjoy it.”
But there are many other happenings before Saturday’s parade.
Carols in the City and the Community Tree Lighting are set for Friday at 6 p.m. The fun begins at the steps of the Courthouse Annex on Broad Street.
Christmas greetings will be given by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, and county Mayor D. Gary Davis.
Santa and Mrs. Claus are the special guests and will help light the giant tree beside the front steps, according to Marr.
First Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir kicks off the evening of music with a performance at the Annex steps.
Once the tree is lit the audience will enjoy choir performances at the churches in historic Downtown Cleveland. In “reverse caroling” fashion, the audience will walk together to Broad Street United Methodist Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, Ladies of Lee at the Church Street Annex, First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and end at the Courthouse Plaza with the finale by Bradley Central High School Choir.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in the bandstand at the Courthouse Plaza to greet children and for photos. Parents should bring cameras to capture this special visit with Santa. Marr said there will be free Carriage rides in historic downtown until 8 p.m. Tennessee Christian Preparatory School Elementary Chorus will entertain with Christmas Carols during Santa visits and carriage rides.
Then on Saturday, the annual Christmas parade begins at 6 p.m. and travels through historic downtown.
“Creativity and hard work goes into these floats. It is truly a festive event,” Marr said.
The parade departs from Bradley Central High School, travels north on South Lee Highway to 3rd Street, north on Ocoee Street, around the monument, south on Broad Street, continues on to Inman Street, and back to South Lee Highway to the school.
For more information call the MainStreet office at 479-1000 or visit the website at www.mainstreetcleveland.com.
Sponsors for the parade this year include; All-Timate Exteriors, Solutions Finance, Easy Auto, Mars Chocolate and Pioneer Credit.
The weekend of holiday events concludes with the Lee University School of Music presenting its 24th annual "A Classic Christmas" on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Conn Center.
Admission to the concert is free and open to the public. However, tickets are required due to limited seating. For ticket reservations and information, call the box office at 423-614-8343.