Rita Edwards is excited about this year’s Christmas parade, her 27th to direct. “It’s a Wonderful Time of the Year” is the theme. It’s set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30. She reminds all those participating to decorate their truck, car or float to match the theme and to put signs on both sides of their entry so that everyone will know who they are.

Christmas music is allowed and welcomed to be played on entries.

Edwards stresses that while candy is allowed to be tossed to children, the leader of each entry is asked to make sure that everyone is told not to “throw” the candy. Toss it gently.

“Believe me, it makes a difference,” Edwards said. “Most parades won’t allow candy be thrown. So please make sure you continue to help me with this.”

Everyone will line up at the Pelham Plaza parking lot, where Winn-Dixie is located. Groups can line up as early as 4:30 p.m. She asks everyone to make sure the people in each group know where to meet. She suggests that it might be easier and safer for a group to meet at another location and then walk or ride to the Winn-Dixie parking lot. This helps with traffic, she said.

She has a map for everyone to use. She suggests that everyone in each group know his or her number.

“Remember that in order to have a successful Christmas parade we must work together and handle ourselves in an orderly manner,” she said. “Jacksonville has the best parade. Spread the news.”

She has to have each entry’s information at least by Friday, Nov. 17. She would like it even sooner, if possible. Forms can be picked up at 6726 Edwards Grocery on Alabama 204, across from West Side Baptist Church. Each entry must have a separate form filled out. Entries won’t be allowed in the parade until she receives the information. There is no fee to be in the parade.

Entries must have the following information: Name, Address, Town and Organization. It must tell if the entry is a Float, Truck, Car, Walkers, Scouts, or Tractor It must tell the Number of People, Contact Person, Day Phone and Night Phone.

Call Edwards at 256-225-0816 or 256-435-4447 for more information.

Guidelines, Edwards said, are extremely important. Drive carefully is at the top of the list. Make sure an adult walks beside the float. Keep two car lengths from the vehicle ahead. Watch for small children. Line up in the proper order. Two adults are required for 10 children in a group. If animals are in the parade (and they are welcomed, reminds Edwards), individuals are responsible for the cleanup.

She cautions everyone to not overload their floats for the safety of everyone.

“A parade can be accomplished with everyone working together,” she said. “I want to continue this. Each year is the best. Thank you in advance for giving me the opportunity to direct the Jacksonville Christmas parade. See you there.”

Contact Margaret at pollya922@gmail.com)