Problems with Paragould Christmas Parade

November 22, 2006 -- Posted at 4:40 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR -- The Christmas parade in Paragould has always been put on by the Paragould Chamber of Commerce, this year however, Main Street Paragould is running it.  In addition to the change in management of the parade there are other changes that some are finding unsettling.

Officials with Main Street Paragould told K8 News that they decided to start charging people to enter the Christmas parade.

There were a lot of participants in 2005, causing the parade to last for a very long time, but for those who have been taking part in the parade for years, the changes are making them angry.

"We're saying that its unfair to be charged an over-inflated price for riding in a parade.

It's Christmas and everyone loves to be around the action.  We think it's just ridiculous," said Teresa Hall.

The fee to ride a horse in the parade is $25 this year.  The fee is also $25 to ride a motorcycle or drive an antique car in the parade.  Cars driving beauty queens will be charged an entry fee of $50.

"I'm not opposed to paying a small fee, you know, a fee that sounds reasonable... $5 or $10 a horse," said Hall.

A representative for Main Street Paragould told K8 News that the reason behind the fee is to pay for insurance for the parade in addition to that the money is used for prizes.

"We feel like downtown Paragould makes a lot of money off of this parade and the people who come to watch it because they shop at the stores they eat here," said Hall.

When they ran it, the parade costs like prizes were paid or by the Paragould Chamber of Commerce.

Paragould isn't the only city to charge people to take part.  The entry fee for the Jonesboro Christmas Parade is $55 for commercial vehicle and $35 for non-commercial vehicle.

The Paragould Christmas Parade is on December 5th.