The Cat Square Christmas Parade now has an official Facebook page. CLICK HERE to visit.
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
The Cat Square Christmas Parade got snowed out in 2017--the first time in its history it had to be cancelled; so this year's parade, which would have been the 45th, will instead be the 44th.
The weather was also a problem in 2016 when for the first time in its history, the parade marched under a steady downpour of rain.
Organizers are hoping this year's weather will be much better.
Final preparations are being made for this year's parade which happens (as always) the second Saturday in December; but this year's parade has been moved up an hour to 1 PM instead of the previous 2 PM start. Why? Because a significant number of the horse riders in the parade actually ride their horses to the parade, and when it's over, they ride home. The 2 PM start was causing some of them to have to ride late enough that it was nearly dark, so for safety reasons, the parade start time was moved up to 1 PM.
This Saturday from 9 AM - 5 PM, voting for the mayor of Cat Square will take place at the Shriners trailer in the Cat Square Superette parking lot. The nominees are Bob Dedmon, Gene Leatherman and Tom Sain. Nominations for Miss Cat Square and Little Miss Cat Square will be accepted at the same place. That's also where you can register if you plan to ride a horse or mule or donkey or use one to pull a wagon, buggy, etc. or if you plan to ride a four-wheeler in the parade. Those are the only kinds of entries that must pre-register. Last year, the mayor election was won by Steve Johnson with 148 votes. Bob Dedmon came in second with 130 and Lloyd Workman got 48. Previous winners included John Leatherman in 2016, Harvey Leatherman in 2015, and "Tater" Rudisill in 2014. The mayor's only official duty is to ride in the parade.
The winners of the Miss Cat Square and Little Miss Cat Square titles last year were Rachel Palmer and Kasey Sisk.
For anyone who doesn't know, the parade begins at the intersection of Cat Square Road and Zur Leonard Road/Dan Rhyne Road. That road crosses Cat Square Road and the name changes as it does. Except for selected entries like the West Lincoln High School Band, the Shriners, etc., who gather in the field at the corner, all other entries except horses line up on Zur Leonard Road. The horses line up on Dan Rhyne Road. The parade marches south from there through Cat Square to Bill Sain Road, a distance of a little over a mile and a half. Spectators line both sides of the road the entire distance, and the crowd is far more than at any other parade in the area. If you want to be in the parade, line-up is at 12:00 noon following the usual pattern starting on Zur Leonard Rd and Houser Rd. If you're not riding a horse and want to be in the parade, this is where you will go. Parade staff will be by to gather your information and assign a number. As said, horses line up on Dan Rhyne Road.
Gladys Sain headed up the parade committee for many years; now Quita Biggerstaff and Jamie Houser co-chair the organizers.
One of the subjects of some controversy over the years has been the cat that gets painted in the Cat Square intersection (Reepsville Road/Reeps Grove Church Road) around midnight Friday night preceding the Saturday parade. While no one or group can specifically be identified under Cat Square 'town ordinance,' and the threat of harm to this reporter if he tells, I have it on good authority that it all started with a gathering years ago of a group of young ladies at Fox's Fish Camp.
Deciding on what they might do after dinner, the suggestion was made by one of them (who may or may not have been a beauty queen) that they paint a cat in the middle of the road at the intersection. Several cans of spray paint later, the group may or may not have accomplished their task.
Now there's actually a rather large gathering of participants and onlookers for the event.
The Cat Square Parade has received national attention after Charlotte tv stations first aired reports years ago. People venture from other states just to see it. For some, who either own property or have friends who own property on Cat Square Road, the party begins early into the morning and continues long after the parade is over. People coming to see the parade generally get there at least an hour or two before it begins and parking places become hard to find as the time for the parade nears, so if you're planning to go, better get there early.
Other Christmas season events in the Cat Square area include:
WoodMill Winery's annual Christmas Show, Saturday December 1st, 10 AM - 5 PM. WoodMill Winery is located at 1350 John Beam Road, Vale...for anyone who doesn't know, John Beam Road runs from Beam Lumber Company Road to Cedar Grove Church Road southwest of Cat Square. The event will include wine tastings, dozens of craft and other vendors including food vendors.
the West Lincoln Middle School Christmas Chorus Concert, Tuesday December 11th at 7 PM at Hull's Grove Baptist Church.
the West Lincoln High School/West Lincoln Middle School Christmas Band Concert Thursday December 13th at 7 PM at the James W. Warren Citizens Center in Lincolnton.
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