Asheville Holiday Parade & JingleFest, presented by Bojangles
The holiday season in Asheville officially kicks off the week before Thanksgiving.
On Saturday, November 23 at 11am, the 67th Annual Asheville Holiday Parade, presented by Bojangles, rolls, marches and dances through downtown to dazzle and entertain for about an hour and a half. This year's theme is “A Star is Born.” Parade Grand Marshals are some of Asheville’s talented stars including Ann Dunn and several Nutcracker dancers of The Asheville Ballet, Josh and Sue from 98.1 The River, Tammy and Dex from Mix 96.5, star baritone Dominic Aquilino and soprano Kelli Mullinix of Asheville Lyric Opera, and the McLellan family from “The Best Christmas Pageant” at Asheville Community Theatre. The Grand Marshal float is sponsored by Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community.
After many years, giant balloons will soar above the parade to add to the day’s excitement, along with eight marching bands, a variety of dance and cheer groups, dueling pianos, a skip rope team, and llamas, horses and unicycles to entertain the crowd. All leading up to the big finish, Santa Claus, sponsored by The Grove Arcade. For a full parade lineup, visit ashevilleparade.org.
Two of the big helium balloons in the parade, the “Happy Stars,” will be handled by volunteers from Toys for Tots with active Marines in dress uniform marching alongside. They will remind everyone to bring their donations of unwrapped toys to the Toys for Tots donation area at JingleFest. Parade organizers are hopeful that many people will bring a donation and this effort can become an annual tradition.
Directly after the parade, head on over to Pack Square Park for JingleFest to continue the fun with activities until 4 pm. JingleFest will kick off with a mini concert by Trinity Baptist Jubilee Choir at 1 pm. After that enjoy non-stop entertainment on the stage hosted by Asheville Actor/comedian Tom Chalmers. You'll see some of the best acts from the parade. Kids can play on the giant inflatables while they are waiting for Santa to make his way back from the Parade. Once Santa arrives (about 2 pm), kids can get their photo taken for free. At 3 pm, don't miss the special holiday concert by Asheville Choral Society. There will be games and giveaways, and it's all free!
Then you might head over to The Grove Arcade for more festivities. Definitely plan on spending Saturday, November 23rd in Asheville when families from Western North Carolina can enjoy an entire day of free festive fun. If you miss Santa on parade day, he will be at the Grove Arcade every Saturday in December (until Christmas) so don't miss him there.
On Thursday, December 5, the winners of the Downtown Holiday Windows Contest will be selected and a walking tour of decorated windows will be available for download. Windows will be decorated until the end of the year.
Of course, downtown Asheville will be a great destination to experience the beautiful decorations and festivities of the holiday season through the end of the year. Check back for updates.
Thank you, 2013 Asheville Holiday Parade Sponsors: