Valleywide Christmas Parade grand marshals named

Published 11:00 am Thursday, December 2, 2021

Two long-serving local public safety officers who recently retired have been named the parade grand marshals of this year’s Valleywide Christmas Parade. Valley Police Chief Tommy Weldon and West Point Fire & EMS Chief Milton “Mitt” Smith each retired this past October after many years of service to their respective communities. They were also ready to offer assistance when needed to surrounding communities.

Weldon had been in local law enforcement for 36 years, most of that time in Valley. Smith had been with the West Point Fire Department for more than 34 years. He started as a firefighter/paramedic in June 1987 and was promoted to chief in 2005.

There’s still time to enter this year’s parade, which will start in Lanett at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9. Entry forms are available at Valley Community Center, and signing up will extend until the end of the working day on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Any street-legal vehicle is eligible to be entered. There’s a $35 entry fee that will drop to $30 with the donation of five cans of food. After the parade, the canned goods will be evenly divided between the Interfaith Food Closet, the Christian Service Center and the West Point Food Closet.

Just before the parade starts, the Valleywide Parade Committee will select the first, second and third-place winning floats in the community, business and school divisions.

Bands from four local high schools will be in the parade. They will be representing Valley, Lanett, LaFayette and Beulah high schools.

Local Christmas parades have been taking place for many years. Up until the early 1980s, they were sponsored by the West Point Merchants Association and took place in downtown West Point. The holiday parade eventually expanded to take in all three local cities.

Lining up for this year’s parade will take place between the lower level of the Cherry Valley Shopping Center and Bluffton Funeral Services. The parade will start on North 12th Street in Lanett, turn left onto West 4th Avenue in West Point at the state line and proceed three blocks north to West 10th Street, where the route turns right for one block to West 3rd Avenue, where it takes another right and continues through the heart of downtown West Point and recrosses the state line into Lanett on Highway 29. The parade then continues over a long stretch of highway into Valley, where it will disband in the parking lot outside Walmart.

Police departments in West Point, Lanett and Valley will be providing traffic control all along the route.