By Dave Russell


Livingston Kelley, of Livingston’s Photo in downtown Sylva, really, really wanted a camera when he was in high school.

It was Christmas, 1962, when he got the first one: an Ansco Cadet II.

“The first roll of film I ever took was black and white, and it was the first roll of film I ever developed,” Kelley said. “The next Christmas, I got a Crown Graphic Pacemaker 4 by 5 camera that really thrilled me.” 

It is fitting that Kelley, a Sylva mainstay since 1971, will be one of three grand marshals when the “Christmas Past and Present” parade travels the “wrong way” up West Main Street at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The parade lines up on Chipper Curve Road, closed from Harold Street south. Participants travel from the Sylva Fire Department toward the library. The terminus is Mark Watson Park.

A marked detour bypassing downtown Sylva leads cars along Municipal Drive and Dillsboro Road, Sylva Manager Paige Dowling said.

“Chipper Curve will close at 1:30 p.m. when we begin the parade lineup,” she said. “Vehicles dropping off kids from Harold Street will be able to turn right onto Chipper Curve.”

The road reopens after the parade, about 4 p.m., she said.

Diagonal parking spaces on West Main Street will be blocked off at 6 a.m. to give observers additional space, Parallel spaces will remain open, she said.

Church parking lots and all parking lots along West Main Street also stay open.

Marion Jones of Jones Country Store, local historian Bill Crawford and Kelley share the grand-marshal designation.“The Main Street Sylva Association picked those three with the thought that they are all keepers of Christmas past,” Dowling said.

Judging the 40-plus floats and other parade participants will be Kendall Waldrop, representing the Sylva Art and Design Committee; Dave Russell of the Sylva Herald; and Jim Collins of Eric’s Fish Market. They will each vote for first, second and third place winners.

The participants walking or riding in the parade are a diverse group.

“We’ve got Cub Scouts, dance troupes, several businesses, fire departments, assisted living facilities, the VFW, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, lots of churches, cheerleaders, civic organizations and more,” Dowling said.

Last year, the parade went the opposite direction. The number of floats has outgrown set up at Mark Watson and the Habitat ReStore lot, Dowling said.