It’s cold, it’s dark. We just arrived home from work. Why drag ourselves and/or the family out on a Tuesday night to shiver in uptown Selma, North Carolina, population less than 8,000 residents?
Here’s 10 reasons to pull on your mittens and head to Selma on December 3 at 6 pm for the annual Tree Lighting (featuring Christian recording artist Andrew Kurtz), followed by the annual Selma Christmas Parade and a Visit with Santa at the Selma Civic Center. (If you’re far from Johnston County, you have plenty of time to find a small town Christmas parade near you.)
Tradition. Selma’s parade is like many small town parades that started after WWII to welcome veterans back home. Today, great-grandparents are watching new generations participate, with hope in their hearts.
Connection. Small town parades offer an advantage over big city parades — you can literally reach out and touch them as they go by, or catch a tossed candy cane. The feeling of community, family, and connection radiate kindness from the shared experience.
The wind against your face. There’s really nothing like being live at a parade.
Pride. Young adults return home from college and military pursuits with the satisfaction and joy at seeing their high school and church participate.
Growth in Spirit. Hometown parades are an annual barometer on the health of the community, especially in tough times.
Friends. It’s not just about the parade. It’s the chance to warm up to old friends you may not get to see throughout the year.
Heart and soul. The groups from schools, organizations and churches put their combined creativity into building floats that are big-city worthy, from manger scenes to Scout tents and campfires. Velvet cape-wrapped beauties wave from convertibles, and bike riders with reindeer toys strapped to their Harleys rev their engines. No matter how humble the presentation, all are cheered.
Variety. Who doesn’t love seeing everyone from community police officers, emergency medics, school drummers, jazz dancers, the local dentist and ROTC marching units go by?
Children love it. When Santa finally arrives at the end, perched and waving atop a ladder truck from the Selma Fire Department, watch everyone’s eyes light up, no matter what your age.
Everyone wants to be a part of it. Selma’s parade easily draws hundreds of people each year, lining the length of N. Raiford Street, from The Rudy Theatre to the Person-Vick Building. And they stick around to the very end, when a colorful display of fireworks shoots into the crisp, clear starlit night sky.
See you at the parade, neighbor!