By Brandon Martin
The 2019 Martinsville-Henry County Christmas Parade is set for Nov. 23, beginning at 5 p.m., in Uptown Martinsville, along Church, Main and Broad streets.
The theme for this year is “The Magic of Christmas.” Warren “Sonny” Richardson was chosen as this year’s grand marshal.
Richardson, a Henry County bus driver and the commander of American Legion Homer Dillard Post 78, attributed this distinction to his work with veterans.
As part of the American Legion, Richardson helps local veterans get assistance and responses from the Veteran’s Administration.
“One word to help these vets get what they want is being patient,” Richardson said. “Being denied a couple of times works on your patience. They’re going to give it to you, but that’s how it works.”
Richardson helps obtain funds for veterans that need assistance with accessibility to bathrooms and he also instated the “Buddy Plan” that ensures that Legion chapter members keep regular contact with three veterans who have mobility limitations.
He also is involved with the community from flag presentations, to helping with oratorical presentations for some of the many students that he buses to school, and helps with raising funds to the Ronald McDonald House.
“It’s the happiest event of the year and I wanted the happiest person I could find to be the grand marshal,” said Charles Roark, coordinator for the parade. “When I went all around town, everyone kept telling me Sonny, so that’s how I knew. The biggest part about finding a grand marshal is finding someone that wants to do it. Luckily, Sonny wanted to do it, so it was kind of like the perfect match.”
This year’s parade will consist of over 100 units to include: Harley Davidson motorcycles, marching bands, dancers, floats, civic organizations, horses and more.
Spectators are encouraged to arrive early to shop, grab dinner and pick out the perfect spot to watch the parade.
Prizes include cash, free dinner and services from various local businesses. The amount of prizes given out will be determined by the amount of entrants.
The entry fee for float applicants is free for educational entries, $25 for religious, non-profit, civic and vendor entries. Car Club Entries pay $25 per vehicle. The price is $50 for commercial and business entries; the fee for professional float entries is $550.
Educational entries are for schools K-12 and colleges only. Participants will include the school Homecoming Court and Junior Miss or Miss Martinsville-Henry County. All professional floats must adhere to the Star News Parade rules and regulations and all vendors must complete the 2019 Vendor application.
All decorations must be made of non-flammable material.
Applications were due by Nov. 9 but interested parties can still apply with a late fee of $25 and will be added after the last placed entry. Applications will not be accepted once the line-up is finalized for media and parade officials.
All checks should be made payable to Star Parades.
The parade is sponsored by the Martinsville-Henry County Christmas Parade Association and Star News.