Move over, Santa. Christmas has a new star this year.
The 22nd Invitational Christmas Parade Dec. 6 in Dallas will be featuring Elvis as its main attraction this year -- well, an Elvis tribute artist.
Dallas resident Jeff Cole has been polishing his Elvis act for years, putting on shows around Paulding County for good causes.
He has done charity shows to raise funds for the Special Olympics, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and, most frequently, for Shepherd’s Rest Ministries, a Paulding County women’s and children’s shelter. His popularity can be measured by the funds he raised — more than $115,000 to date.
And now he will be the grand marshal for the Christmas parade, in full Elvis regalia.
He said being chosen as this year’s grand marshal was humbling.
“It was one of the highlights of my musical career,” Cole said. “I would like to thank anybody and everybody who had anything to do with it. Being a local boy born and raised in Dallas, you could not have asked for anyone who would appreciate it more. I will be forever proud and grateful.”
Having a rock-and-roller as the star of the parade is fitting for this year’s theme of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
The parade, hosted by the Paulding County Rotary Club, will see between 70 and 80 parade entries, from local businesses to Boy Scouts, churches and high school marching bands.
Parade volunteer Jackie Crum, owner of the Ragsdale Inn in downtown Dallas, said it is the biggest parade in Paulding County and draws 10,000 to 12,000 people annually.
The Rotary Club uses the event as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Paulding Christmas Inc., which helps provide a Christmas for families in need.
The entry fees paid by the parade participants go directly to the charity and Crum said last year the club was able to raise $7,000 for the nonprofit.
Downtown merchants have joined in on the event, opening their doors to customers, setting up face-painting booths and handing out hot chocolate. This year, the Downtown Dallas Merchants Association will be bringing in a few food trucks.
The parade is set for 1 p.m. on Main Street in Dallas. The route starts on Hardee Street at Dallas Elementary School and runs to Main Street, ending at the courthouse.
A video can be found on the Paulding County government website, which lets residents know where to park and how to stay safe during such a large-scale event. It can be viewed at http://www.paulding.gov/MediaCenter.aspx?VID=Dallas-Christmas-Parade-2014-444#player
Staff / Tom Spigolon From left, Paulding County Industrial Building Authority members David Austin, building authority attorney Tom Cable, Chairman Boyd Austin and Doris Devey listen in during the group's monthly meeting Wednesday at the Watson Government Complex in Dallas.
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