WAKE FOREST — For the first time in its 69-year history, the Wake Forest Christmas Parade will have a junior parade marshal in addition to a grand marshal in the annual holiday parade to be held on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. in historic downtown Wake Forest.
Bill and Chris Joyner, the father-son owners of Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs will be the 2016 Grand Marshals of the Wake Forest Christmas Parade. Shorty’s is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is the oldest, still-existing business on South White Street in historic downtown Wake Forest.
The first-ever Junior Marshal for the 2016 parade is 13-year-old Jackson Donahoe, an eighth-grader at Heritage Middle School. On the day following his April 25, 2016, birthday, Jackson went into surgery to remove a mass. A week later, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins’s Lymphoma. He recently completed chemotherapy treatments.
“Jackson is thrilled to be honored in this year’s parade as his energy and strength are slowly returning following months of treatment,” said Sommer Donahoe, Jackson’s mom who along with her husband, Jeff and daughter Sylvia, age 11, live in Heritage.
The Wake Forest community rallied around Jackson and his family holding two summer fundraisers to help cover medical expenses and creating #JacksonDStrong car decals and t-shirts.
“We couldn’t have gotten through this without our friends, family and the Wake Forest community. The parade is another example of the wonderful support we’ve received during Jackson’s challenge,” Sommer added.
The Joyners and Donahoes will be honored during a dignitary lunch on the day of the parade and then ride together on the Grand Marshal/Junior Marshal float sponsored by Fidelity Bank.
Wake Forest’s annual Christmas parade features more than 100 floats and entries from local businesses, churches, schools and civic groups, as well as high school marching bands and Santa Claus.
The parade route begins at the intersection of Elm Avenue and South White Street and continues north along South White Street before turning east onto Wait Avenue. It then turns south onto South Brooks Street and continues until ending at the Elm Avenue intersection.
Several street closures will take effect Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. in the downtown area prior to the parade.
Downtown shops and restaurants will be open parade day and several food and dessert trucks are scheduled to be in the Fidelity Bank parking lot on Owen Street.
Parking for spectators is available along many of the streets in and surrounding downtown Wake Forest as well as in specially marked parking lots at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The parade is presented by Wake Forest Downtown, Inc., a dedicated group of volunteers whose mission is to foster the health and vitality of downtown Wake Forest.
For more information about the parade visit www.WakeForestDowntown.com.