TAKE 5: Jaycees ready for Christmas parade

Nov. 30, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

This week, we Take 5 with Gina Guerrero, the 2013 Central Carolina Jaycees President. The Jaycees organize the Sanford Christmas Parade. She is a seventh grade pre-algebra teacher at SanLee Middle School and has also taught algebra at Chatham Central High School and science at SanLee. She has coached soccer, softball and Math Counts at SanLee and has been tutoring after school since she started teaching in 2008.

Guerrero loves working toward a goal, and she said the Jaycees have really helped her branch out into this community. Since 2010, Guerrero has been a general member, secretary, management vice president and president, and next year, she will become treasurer.

She said the Jaycees have done many great things for this community and held fundraisers for such projects as the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, the Duke Cancer Institute and the Boys and Girls Cottage at Lake Waccamaw. Guerrero noted, “It’s great to see what we can accomplish together!”

The Sanford Christmas Parade is just around the corner. What can people expect this year?

This year might be the last year for the parade to be on the first Monday of December. We are partnering up with Downtown Sanford to create a new tradition for next year.

For 2013, the route will still be set on Wicker Street leading up to the corner of Carthage Street. The parade will march up Wicker Street to Steele Street, then turn left to turn back onto Carthage Street. The parade will then turn onto Park Avenue to end it for the night.

We will have fire trucks, youth groups, pageant queens, the Shriners and, of course, our two local high school bands playing Christmas music. This year’s parade sponsor is Cheer Extreme, and other sponsors include BB&T, Moen, First Bank, Central Carolina Hospital and Brick City Pageants. Downtown Sanford also became a media sponsor this year, so we are very lucky to have such a supportive community behind us to make this happen year after year.

How did the Central Carolina Jaycees get involved in the Sanford Christmas Parade?

For many years the Sanford Jaycees organized the parade, and I even remember as a young child going to the Jaycee Hut afterward to celebrate the holidays with my family, and the Jaycee I knew, my Uncle Ricky (Ricky Guerrero). The Chamber of Commerce eventually took over the parade for a while until the Central Carolina Jaycees was formed. Kelly Quinones Miller did an excellent job organizing the Sanford Christmas Parade for years. She showed me the ropes a couple years ago, and taught me how to undertake such a massive project. Her expertise and wisdom made it easy for me to get the parade started every year. I’m proud that the Central Carolina Jaycees can put on such a parade every year.

Who is this year’s grand marshal? Why was this person chosen?

This year’s grand marshal is Bill Stone, the 4-H club director and an extension agent here in Lee County. We always ask the public for their input about the parade marshal, and we collect many different names to throw in the hat to be chosen each year. Our parade committee then votes on a number system to see who we think is most deserving of the honor. This year, Bill was our choice, and we are proud to have him. His wife is due any day now, so hopefully he will make it Monday night!

What else do people need to know about the event?

The Sanford Christmas Parade starts at 7 p.m., but the roads will close to all thru traffic at 6:30 p.m. The participants in the parade should be lined up around 6 p.m. to make sure they do not run into any problems. Many of our commercial floats will be located at St. Luke Church’s parking lot, and many other entries also meet there to head down to the line. Tryon Street is closed to all parked vehicles, as well as Park Avenue up to Tryon Street. This is where the parade will exit, and our dignitaries riding in the parade will be there up until 6:45 p.m. We appreciate everyone’s patience with traffic and crowds due to such an ecstatic public.

What other events or projects can people expect from the Jaycees in the coming year?

We still have Breakfast with Santa on Nov. 30 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Applebee’s, as well as Gingerbread Houses on Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. for 2013. Next year, we plan on having many of our traditions continue with events such as Love Shouldn’t Hurt, benefiting HAVEN of Lee County; Easter Egg Hunt at Kiwanis Park; Movies in the Park during the spring and fall months; turkey shoot, benefiting the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center, and, of course, the Sanford Christmas Parade.

We also have many socials throughout the year, such as our annual St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, Super Bowl party, chili cookoffs, haunted house outing, strawberry picking and so much more. The Central Carolina Jaycees is an amazing group of people, and we really are like family. The members in our area, as well as across the state, really make your life so much brighter. If you would like to check us out, you can find us on Facebook or visit us at centralcarolinajcs.org. We welcome new faces.