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MIDDLESEX — Officials have canceled the town’s annual Christmas parade to show support for the Southern Nash High School football team set for its first state championship game Saturday.
Anyone who’s spent time in southern Nash County since 1969 has a family member who attended the high school, so giving residents a chance to go to the game is the right thing to do for the community, Mayor Lu Harvey Lewis said during an impromptu press conference Thursday afternoon.
The undefeated Southern Nash Firebirds will play in the 3-A state championship game in Raleigh at 3 p.m. Saturday. The parade had been scheduled for an hour before kickoff.
Lewis said rather than trying to reschedule the parade during the busy holiday season, the town will hold an event and parade in the spring.
“We will have the football team here, and they can be in the parade,” Lewis said.
Meteorologists are calling for showers Saturday, but that’s not the main reason the parade was called off, Lewis said.
The parade was canceled two years ago due to rain. That decision was made at 9 a.m. the morning of the event.
During a Monday meeting, the board expressed determination to move forward with the parade. However after consulting with Police Chief Mike Collins and others, the board decided Thursday not to hold the parade this weekend.
Collins said the parade needed to be canceled at the earliest possible moment due to the logistics involved. Vendors, food trucks, emergency responders and deputies all have to be notified if the parade wasn’t going to happen.
Lewis said entry fees can be refunded or held for the spring parade.
Lewis, a Firebird graduate, said he recognized that a lot of folks wanted to be at the game but had committed to the parade, and the town wanted to let them go.
Nash County deputies who had been scheduled for the parade will instead join an escort of the football team to the county line Saturday before the game.
Nash school resource officers will also be on the sidelines during the game, Sheriff Keith Stone said.