All in all, officials have declared the Town of Sylva’s inaugural three-day Christmas extravaganza a success, despite heavy rains Friday into Saturday and a new parade route that, at times, featured the occasional hitch.
Dozens of local residents defied the downpour and attended Friday’s tree-lighting ceremony, held below the historic Courthouse. Choral members from Western Carolina University sang anyway, ignoring the pouring rain and belting out carols.
Saturday, vendors set up shop downtown; customers materialized.
“Overall, it went well,” town Manager Paige Dowling said Tuesday.
The new parade route – starting at Mark Watson Park and moving away from the Courthouse, instead of toward the building – worked, but needs refining, she said.
One of the most important changes? Find areas in town to stage floats. Mark Watson Park wasn’t big enough to handle the record number of parade entries (61), she said.
“It interfered with regular traffic,” Dowling said.
Also, the parade start at 2 p.m. meant some parents did not have time to take children home from church, provide lunch and participate in the parade, she said.
Parade safety is an ongoing concern, particularly in the sharp curve at the town fountain, where the crowd of children had to be moved back to accommodate large float vehicles.