The Wilkes County Christmas Parade on Saturday in the Wilkesboros was one of the largest and best editions of this annual event in recent memory.

There were over 150 entries in the parade, including fire trucks and about 40 floats. Dennis Whittington purchased 20 entries for 18 tractor-trailers, with most of the rigs decked out for the holidays.

Congratulations and thanks to the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce for organizing the parade and to Tyson Foods Inc., the Town of North Wilkesboro and the Town of Wilkesboro for sponsoring the event.

Wilkes Chamber President Linda Cheek and her staff pull this event off without a hitch annually and make it seem easy, when actually it involves a great amount of work. This shouldn’t be taken for granted. Perhaps cancellation of the parade last year due to COVID-19 raised appreciation of the event and contributed to the large turnout Saturday. Vaccinations were just starting to be available about the time the parade was scheduled last year.

Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro town employees do a good job preparing for the parade and cleaning up afterwards. Police in the two towns help the parade move through smoothly and maintain safety.

Christmas parade co-sponsorship is but a small part of what Tyson does for Wilkes County. Especially notable are the company’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at its chicken processing facilities in Wilkesboro, along with wage increases and bonuses. Tyson reported investing more than $500 million in wage increases and thank you bonuses for frontline workers nationwide over the past year, with average hourly pay over $18 per hour. Along with the value of health benefits, Tyson said this amounts to over $24 an hour.

Nothing held annually in Wilkes County is more of a quintessential community event than the Christmas parade, drawing high school bands and other school groups, local churches and other non-profits, businesses, elected officials, candidates for office (especially this year) and others as entries. It’s a great way for businesses to get their names out.

It’s difficult to watch the parade without having a smile, thus putting people in the right mood to celebrate the Christmas season.

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