By Ashley Faulkner
With the parade just a day away, Ronnie Coffey sits at his paper-covered desk answering phone calls from people hoping to join in the Buena Vista Christmas tradition.
“It’ll be more, I’m sure,” says the Buena Vista Parks and Recreation director, who is happy to add more. “Usually it’ll be last minute and someone will call tomorrow, but we’ll still put them in there.”
The Buena Vista parade has been around as long as Coffey can remember. He went as a young child and now he is the man behind the Christmas magic, besides Santa Claus.
The parade, which begins Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., will have everything from antique cars to marching bands to rescue squads. Coffey this year is working to make the theme “A Christmas Homecoming” come alive.
“We thought about the people coming home for Christmas and how that is always a big deal,” Coffey said. “Families get together that haven’t seen [each other] in a while. It’s always great to go home.”
The theme is to be represented in the floats and decorations. Buena Vista dignitaries will judge all of the categories and choose the winners.
On Friday, Dec. 4, the larger Lexington Christmas parade kicks off on Houston and Taylor streets at 5:30 p.m. While this could appear as competition to some, it is the exact opposite to Coffey. Both parades even share the custom sleigh that Santa Claus will ride in for the parades’ finales.
To add to the feeling of coming home, Coffey selected Mary Huffman, a local flower shop owner, to be the parade’s emcee.
“She just thanks everybody for coming and makes you feel welcome. She does a good job and makes everybody feel important,” Coffey said.
As the emcee, Huffman will announce the expected 100 parade entries. These entries will kick off with Buena Vista Police Chief Keith Hartman and Sheriff Randy Hamilton, a long and honored tradition of the parade.