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Parade returns to town
'Lights' ceremony follows at hospital
Parade WEB
Santa waves to the crowd during the 2010 Cumming Christmas Parade & Festival. - photo by File photo

Saturday’s festivities

• What: Cumming Christmas Parade & Festival

• When: Forsyth Community Connection Jingle Jog 5K begins at 9 a.m.; parade at 3:30 p.m.; and Northside Hospital-Forsyth’s Celebration of Lights at 4:30 p.m.

• Where: Market Place Boulevard and Northside Hospital-Forsyth

The Christmas season will be officially ushered into Cumming on Saturday.

The annual Cumming Christmas Parade & Festival will again make its run along Market Place Boulevard.

Complete with floats from businesses and community organizations, marching bands, and even a visit from Santa Claus himself, the procession will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Cumming City Administrator Gerald Blackburn said the event is great for the community and area businesses.

“We always look forward to it,” Blackburn said. “The city is very supportive of the parade because it’s a great day for the elected officials to show support of local merchants.”

James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said the day may be good for businesses but it’s also about community pride.

“Christmas parades are really important community events,” he said. “Parades like this help build community character and bring a community together.”

McCoy anticipated this year’s parade, whose title sponsor is Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, would see gains in participants and spectators.

“We are expecting some growth this year,” he said. “It won’t be double the size or anything, but we are anticipating more floats and a larger turnout in terms of attendance too.”

The day will also include the second Jingle Jog 5K, which raises money in support of Forsyth County Community Connection.

The jog will begin at 9 a.m. at the Cumming Town Center on Market Place Boulevard.

Following the afternoon parade, the crowd can venture across Highway 20 to attend Northside Hospital-Forsyth’s Celebration of Lights, which begins at 4:30 p.m.

This year marks the 23rd celebration, which honors those who have fought cancer.

The annual event, which is expected to bring together more than 3,000 people, will feature live entertainment from several local organizations and groups.

The event will culminate with the lighting of Northside-Forsyth’s giant Christmas tree.

Each light on the tree represents someone whose life has been touched by cancer.

Both Blackburn and McCoy plan to attend Saturday’s festivities.

“I’m always there and I really enjoy it,” McCoy said. “The parade is a great way to get to know one another and really feel like you’re a part of this great community.”

Added Blackburn: “It’s a great day. I’ll be out with the family … the grandkids always enjoy the Christmas parade.”