JACKSONVILLE — The holiday spirit is in the air, as four Cherokee County communities begin count-downs for their annual Christmas parades.
The Jacksonville Christmas Parade is the first slated for the season, with line-up at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Commerce and Patton streets. The parade begins at 6 p.m. Robin "Boogie" Butt, the 2013 Tomato Fest chairman, will serve as this year's Parade Grand Marshall.
The parade will wind through downtown Jacksonville, along Commerce Street, then briefly onto Austin Street, before heading left on Wilson Street to the Bonner Street intersection, where it will proceed left.
A rain date has been set for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, according to Chamber of Commerce official.
In Rusk, this year's event – “Remember when; remember them, Christmas of '41, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” – falls on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. In honor of those who served that campaign, Saturday's parade will kick off with a 10 a.m. fly-over in remembrance of those fallen, then begin at 11 a.m. at Sycamore and 5th streets, traveling through downtown Rusk along Main Street, 6th Street, then back toward Henderson Street.
Cherokee County Historical Commission chairman James Cromwell is this year's Grand Marshall.
The Alto Lions Club will sponsor the annual Alto Christmas Parade, which starts at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at Alto Missionary Church on Texas Hwy. 294. Towmater – the tow-truck character from the movie “Cars” – is scheduled to be in this year's parade, according to a post on the Alto Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
Rounding out the events is the annual Gallatin Christmas parade, which begins 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Gallatin Community Center and concludes at City Hall, where winners of this year's Christmas lights contest will be announced and the 2013 Citizen of the Year and Firefighter of the Year will be introduced at a reception, said Mayor Chase Palmer. Little ones also will have an opportunity to get their photos taken with Santa Claus, he said.