This year’s Hinesville Christmas Parade, organized by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and CVB, drew in nearly 15,000 people according to the Hinesville Police Department, to watch the board game theme floats and participants parade down the streets of Hinesville to kick off the holiday season.
The LCCVB has been planning the parade for 22 years, Liberty County Chamber of Commerce CEO Leah Poole said. The chamber got involved when the two organizations merged eight years ago, Poole continued.
The parade takes a lot of work from dedicated volunteers and staff every year, with nearly 90 entries, and some entrants have multiple units per entry, Poole said.
“If you counted individually, it’s closer to 130-140 entries,” she added. “The physical set up begins at the Army Education Center, but takes us all day to get golf carts where they need to be, load trailers with supplies, so we usually start at 8:30 a.m.”
Over 30 volunteers and staff between the staging area and the parade route, Poole said. This year’s Chamber Award winners for business were McDonald’s in first, and Ameris Bank in second. The Mayor’s Award winners for non-profit were HPD in first, and Hispanic Heritage Club in second. The Superintendent Award for school was Savannah Technical College in first and First Presbyterian Christian Academy Board in second.
After the parade, the chamber looks at after action reports to review what went right and wrong, and work against making the same mistakes next year, she continued.
“Planning for next year begins in July 2019, when we choose a theme, release the registration forms, and start committee meetings,” Poole said. Anyone who wants to pass along thoughts and ideas, please do, Poole added. After so many years, new ideas are hard to come by.
This parade is the start of the holiday season, along with the Hinesville Tree Lighting, Poole said.
“The parade brings together such a diverse group of people, it is really representative of our community and the creativity that we have in droves.”