The sights and sounds of Albany’s Christmas parade light up downtown as parade participants make their way along a spectator-lined Pine Avenue. The 2012 Christmas parade is Dec.1, beginning at 6 p.m.
ALBANY, Ga. -- If you think there's no reason in the season for celebration, perhaps a full century of electricity and running water might fill the bill.
Albany's Water Gas & Light Commission is pulling out all the stops for its 22nd annual Celebration of Lights Christmas parade in downtown Albany Dec. 1. In recognition of the utility's 100th anniversary, the theme of the parade this year is "An Old-Fashioned Christmas."
"We're really excited about the parade and the theme this year," said Mari Wright, customer relations assistant at WG&L. "What's old-fashioned for the older folks may not be for our children."
Wright's parade favorites are the marching bands, she said, and bands from all the area high schools are expected to participate. But for the first time in recent memory, Albany's Marine Corps Marching Band won't be leading the festive procession. According to Wright, though, WG&L Assistant General Manager Lorie Farkas has secured an outside substitute.
"Lorie spent a lot of time researching military bands," Wright said. "She found a good one at Fort Benning and they were available."
According to the group's website, the 283rd Army Band, also known as the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band, had its beginning in 1916 in El Paso, Texas. It was known then as the 34th Infantry Band. Since 1955, the musical group has remained at Fort Benning. With its eight performing groups, the MCE Band performs at more than 550 missions and entertains more than 300,000 people each year.
Wright said the 2012 holiday celebration will feature not only marching bands but specially decorated floats, as well as walking groups and, of course, Santa Claus. In fact, Wright said there are still spots available for floats or walking groups from schools, clubs, churches or other organizations. The only real requirement is that no other Santa Clauses are allowed. The real Santa will be last in the parade.
For parade information or to apply for a spot, call Wright or Farkas at (229) 883-8300.
The yearly tradition of lighting the community Christmas tree outside WG&L on Pine Avenue will be dedicated this year to the memory of patrol officer Terry Lewis Fleming, killed last year in the line of duty. Wright said Fleming's family will light the tree, which has been donated by Ted Johns.
Wright said the parade will start at 6 p.m. on the 200 block of Pine Avenue, turn right on Washington Street, then right again on Broad to The Trumpet of God Church Ministries. According to Wright, there will be pre-parade entertainment by 23 separate performance groups at the 200 block of Pine and the 200 block of Broad Avenue.
"Bleachers are in sort supply this year," Wright said. "so the public is encouraged to come early or bring their own chairs."