File photoBells will be ringing this Saturday during Hertford's annual Christmas Parade slated to begin at 2 p.m.
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File photoBells will be ringing this Saturday during Hertford's annual Christmas Parade slated to begin at 2 p.m.

Hertford spreads some small town, Christmastime charm

By Cathy Wilson

The Perquimans Weekly

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Hertford kicked off the Christmas season Thursday night with the annual Grand Illumination and will continue to celebrate the yuletide with its annual Christmas Parade on Saturday.

Saturday’s Perquimans Chamber of Commerce annual Christmas Parade gets underway at 2 p.m. and will feature the special theme “Christmas Blessings” this year. Grand marshall for the event is none other than Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole who will be accompanied by his wife, Janice, a Perquimans County commissioner.

Frank Roberts will provide parade commentary.

Special guest, as always, will be Santa who will arrive in an antique sleigh pulled by “special reindeer” from Hertford Grammar School. He will meet with area children in Inteliport after the parade for pictures.

The parade route will remain the same as in years past with floats and bands lining up at the high school, then traveling down South Edenton Road Street, Grubb Street, Church Street, and Dobbs Street back to the high school.

Chamber officials say three school bands have committed to playing in this year’s parade including the Perquimans County High School Marching Pirates, special ensembles from Perquimans County Middle School, and Northeastern High School from Elizabeth City.

Among the parade floats and marching units will be the United States Coast Guard, the historic replica Periauger carrying two riders dressed in Native American regalia, fire trucks, EMS/rescue squad trucks, various floats from churches, organizations, senior citizens center, Sudan Buccaneers with their canons, the mammoth-sized Oshkosh Striker Aircraft rescue/firefighting vehicle from Harvey Point, motorcycles, vintage and classic vehicles, Smokey Bear, horses/riders, and assorted politicians.

Parade entry applications are still being accepted at the chamber office located on Market Street, or by visiting, or calling 426-5657. Entry fee for floats to be judged is $25; others are free.

There will be lots of other activities occurring in town on Saturday as well.

Holy Trinity Church will hold their Soup Cafe in the church parish hall beginning at 11:30

a.m. to 2 p.m.. Visitors can enjoy their choice of three homemade soups, hot chocolate, coffee, bottled water and cookies for a nominal charge.

The Perquimans Arts League will host a book signing and reception for Jean Oaks, author of “Diggin’ Dirt”, in the gallery from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

And, Open Door in conjunction with the Maryland Horseback Riders, will hold a Christmas Festival from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the corner of South Edenton Road and King streets. The festival will benefit Open Door Food Pantry in Perquimans County.

In addition to vendors, food, and fun times, Santa has also agreed to be at the festival after the parade.

Those who attend are invited to bring canned goods and nonperishable food items to donate to Open Door.

Open Door has provided services and food for over 350 families in Perquimans and surrounding counties. In order to increase Open Door’s ability to help others, Independent Horseback Riding Club (IHRC) and fellow horseback riding clubs from Maryland have volunteered to anchor this food and fund drive.

A flipping of the switch Thursday evening transformed Hertford into a festive celebration of lights during the Grand Illumination that began on the historic courthouse green shortly after sunset.

Entertainment was by members of the Perquimans County High School band, Senior Citizens Choir, and First Baptist Church Mass Choir of Hyde Park. Officials flipped the switch illuminating the official 18 ft. town Christmas tree, courthouse trees and shrubs, and downtown buildings.

Also shining this year were River Trees, 24 illuminated Christmas trees that light up the river shoreline on Front and Church streets.

Luminaries once again lined the sidewalk leading to the Perquimans County Courthouse. Luminaries were purchased in memory, honor, or in celebration of loved ones for $5 each.

Many of the downtown merchants and restaurants remained open late for holiday shopping and good eating.Thursday’s Christmas celebration was sponsored by Historic Hertford, Inc.