By Dave Russell
Downtown Sylva will be busy Saturday with the Walk for Hope, a parade, a sidewalk sale and a fire department open house.
Still, traffic disruptions will be minimal, Sylva Assistant Police Chief Rick Bryson said.
The Police Department kicks off the day by marking National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the town’s third annual Walk for Hope. Breast cancer survivors, their supporters and members of the public are encouraged to wear pink and meet at the courthouse fountain at 10 a.m. for a memory walk up and down West Main Street.
Pink will be aplenty, including some pink vehicles. The department’s retired pink Crown Victoria, named “Hope,” will be present.
Other pink vehicles are coming from Charlotte to participate, Bryson said.
The walk will be just more than a half-mile. People who want to attend but not walk are invited to come out and remain at the fountain. For those who might want to walk part of the way, the Police Department will have a vehicle to pick them up and bring them back to the fountain.
Traffic interruption will be less than five minutes, Bryson said, as the paraders will walk from the fountain to Spring Street before turning around.
Eastbound traffic can bypass West Main Street by going up Keener Street to Jackson Street to Evalina Street, though West Main will only be closed for a short time, he said.
Merchandise will begin filling the sidewalks for bargain hunters as the Main Street Sylva Association’s sidewalk sale runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Businesses will discount stock in preparation for Christmas, and many will have goods on the sidewalk, said End of Main owner and MSSA board President John Wermuth. The association is still working on the list of businesses participating in the Sidewalk Sale, but “Sidewalk Sale is a good day for coming downtown and getting some good deals,” he said.
At noon, the Fire Prevention Parade will leave Mark Watson Park and begin a journey to the Sylva Fire Department’s annual open house.
“It’s the first day of Fire Prevention Week nationwide,” Jackson County Fire Marshall Michael Forbis said. “We started doing a kickoff parade to celebrate that. We’ll also be in the schools doing fire prevention over these two weeks and the parade is part of that, a chance for the kids to come out and see everything.”
Firefighting and other emergency vehicles from across the county and a unit from Waynesville will make up the parade, he said.
At its terminus, the Sylva Fire Department station house, a variety of family activities will continue until 4 p.m.
“We’ll have bounce houses, snacks, drinks, giveaways, fire trucks to climb on and the Sheriff’s Office will bring some stuff,” said Mike Huffman, a fire life safety educator with the Sylva Fire Department and the organizer of the event. “People will just come out and look at the station and see what the fire department does in a different light.”
The parade route will see side roads blocked for about five minutes each.