VALDOSTA -- In honor of the military men and women from the area who will be spending their holidays overseas defending their country, the theme chosen for the Greater Valdosta Community Christmas Parade is "Red, White and Blue Christmas."

Sponsored by the Ossipe Temple No. 65, the parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m., beginning at the corner of Woodrow Wilson Drive and Patterson Street and ending at the Bank of America in downtown Valdosta.

In an effort to attract a larger number of marching bands from the region, the parade committee is seeking donations from corporate sponsors to help offset the costs associated with transportation for the schools. Funds raised will also assist the organizers with improving the floats.

Parade committee member Jerome Tucker said the improvements will be made over several years, as the groups involved typically make commitments a year or more in advance. Organizers have already been able to recruit a number of new sponsors and partners this year, including WAAC, Lowndes and Valdosta High Schools, Coca-Cola, and Foxy 97.5. In addition, The Valdosta Daily Times has agreed to sponsor the Santa Claus float.

Those interested in becoming a corporate sponsor are asked to call Jerome Tucker at 559-7861, 229-506-7014 or 879-4003.

It's also not too late for churches, schools, organizations and businesses to enter a float in the parade. Applications are available from any member of the Ossipe Temple No. 65, and those interested are asked to call Gerone Anderson at 247-5778 or Robert Cosby at 244-2254.

The parade is the culmination of a day full of activities downtown, including an early morning Jingle Bell Run, Breakfast with Santa, and activities around the Courthouse as part of the city's Jingle Bell Festival 2005, a Winterfest Celebration.

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