9/18/2012 - Asheville Holiday Parade taking shape
by Tony Kiss - Asheville Citizen Times
ASHEVILLE -- It's still plenty warm for cookouts, and Oktoberfest has yet to arrive, but planning is well under way for the 66th annual Asheville Holiday Parade.
Olympic silver medalists Lauren Tamayo and Manteo Mitchell will serve as grand marshals of the Nov. 17 parade through downtown.
"I am honored that the city selected me to be a grand marshal of the holiday parade this year," Tamayo said in an email.
"All my family and friends have been working on my Christmas cheer already since the past few years I have been on the road training and racing during the holidays."
Always one of the city's best-attended celebrations, the Asheville Downtown Association is hosting a 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting for volunteers at Grove Arcade.
Volunteers are needed to help with an assortment of logistical duties on parade day, said Meghan Rogers, membership and marketing director the Asheville Downtown Association.
The parade is "huge for downtown," she said. "We are talking 20-25,000 people coming downtown to kick off the holiday season. And a lot of those people are coming from outside of Buncombe County."
By honoring cyclist Tamayo and runner Mitchell, the parade will also tie in with the Asheville Downtown Association's 25th or silver anniversary, Rogers said. The parade theme is "silver and snowflakes."
The parade will stick with the same basic layout as in the past, but there are changes in judging. The new format includes prizes in different categories like school groups, dance teams and handmade floats. Parade applications are available online at www.ashevilledowntown.org/events with an Oct. 1 deadline to enter, she said.