A 27-year-old holiday tradition will fill the streets of Pembroke all day Saturday.
The Bryan County 4-H Club will host the 2010 Christmas in Pembroke at 9 a.m., Saturday in the parking lot under the stoplight on Hwy. 280 in downtown Pembroke.
The day-long holiday festival kicks off with 65 food and craft vendors, including merchants selling birdhouses, Christmas ornaments and unique clothing, as well as pictures with Santa Claus, electronic bull rides, airbrush tattoos, pony rides and other games, according to Shanna Davis, one of the event organizers.
There will also be local entertainment, including Pembroke’s own Police Chief Mark Crowe singing in the morning, and North Bryan’s Mickey Huggins and the Can Kickers performing at 3 p.m.
The highlight of the day, the Christmas parade, will step off at 11 a.m. and proceed down Warnell Avenue, west on Hwy. 280 though downtown Pembroke. The parade will march down Strickland Street, turn down Smith Street and disband across from Hwy. 67. There are around 70 participants in this year’s parade, such as local dignitaries, horses, motorcycles, bands, the ROTC Color Guard and antique tractors.
Following the parade, a Wreaths for Warriors ceremony will begin around 2 p.m. at the 119 Garrison Gate in downtown Pembroke. The wreath will come from the Wreaths for Warriors ceremony at Fort Stewart, which is at noon Saturday at Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field and is set to arrive in Pembroke with Patricia Barbee.
The Pembroke Police Department will act as a funeral escort for the wreath as it is carried to Memorial Park. At 2 p.m. sharp, the wreath will be laid at the Memorial Park flagpole by Barbee and Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook.
In the Christmas parade, Barbara DuBose, a long-time organizer with the parade committee, will lead as the grand marshal.
“It’s quite an honor, really,” DuBose said. “I never gave it any thought in the past. But when it’s bestowed on you, it’s quite a different story.”
The Pembroke resident has been working on the committee that organizes the Christmas event for 26 years. Being chosen to lead the parade shows that people have recognized her hard work, she said.
DuBose’s commitment to the event and to the community is why the 18-person committee unanimously chose her as grand marshal, Davis said.
“She’s done so much with the parade,” she said.
There will also be a car and motorcycle show after the parade on then corner of Hwy. 280 and Strickland Street. The spirited day will end around 4:30 p.m., Davis said.
The parade and festival has always been hosted by the Bryan County 4-H Club, an organization for fifth- through 12th-graders that promotes community services, public service and leadership, as a fundraiser, Davis said. The event is always held in Pembroke because it is the county seat and, 27 years ago, was the largest end of the county.
“It serves all of Bryan County 4-H, but it just happened to be in Pembroke,” she said.
The size of the parade and event has grown over the years, DuBose said.
“It’s is always special,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to see it increase in size and participants who watch it.”
Two years ago, more than 4,000 people lined the streets of Pembroke to watch the parade and enjoy the holiday festivities, Davis said. There was not as big of a turnout last year because of foul weather.
“It was pouring,” DuBose said. But people still came out in the bad weather to watch the parade. “[It was] really rewarding that people look forward to a hometown parade.”
Organizers are hoping for better weather this year, said Angela Reed, a Pembroke City Council member and an organizer of the event.
“We’re holding out for real good weather,” she said. “Last year, we got rain and it just put a damper on it.”
Reed is optimistic that the sun will be shining on Saturday.
“Santa says so,” she said.
The event is free, and organizers hope that people come out and enjoy themselves.
“We have a big day planned,” DuBose said. “We would love for folks just to come out and have a good time.”