Greenville prepares for annual Christmas parade

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Christmas spirit is in full swing, and people will be celebrating with parades throughout the Carolinas this weekend.

READ Schedule of holiday events across area

One of the largest parades in the Upstate is the free Greenville Poinsettia Christmas Parade on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m.

People will be able to see more than 90 parade participants and floats along the one mile parade route on Main Street stretching from Augusta Street to North Street.

The parade has been a tradition in the community for more than 75 years.

“We look forward to the Christmas parade all year because the energy is so alive downtown,” said Rose Augustyn, the owner of Poppington’s Gourmet Popcorn.

Augustyn has had a front row seat to the Christmas parade for the past five years her business has been on Main Street. She says the parade not only brings people downtown, but it helps the local businesses because they experience more foot traffic on parade day.

“The time that they have to sit around and wait for something gives them time to explore all the stores that are on Main Street,” Augustyn said.

Police are also preparing for the parade and making sure the event is secure and safe.

“We’ll have officers in there roving Main Street, and the side streets, and closing off the side streets several hours prior,” said Johnathan Bragg the spokesperson for the Greenville Police Department.

The department will also have more officers working tomorrow.

“Officers will get there early tomorrow and start towing vehicles that are parked on Main Street, to clear out the parade route, and that way we can also open up those roads for people to sit on,” Bragg said.

Police say they’ll start closing down streets around 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Most of the garages downtown will cost a flat rate of $6. However, the West Washington Deck will be free.

Greenville police want to remind people that smoking and animals are not allowed on Main Street during the parade.

Greenwood, Abbeville, Due West, Donalds, and Calhoun Falls will also have their Christmas parades this weekend.