30th Annual Winston-Salem Jaycees Drive-Thru Holiday Parade


By Kristen Margo Daukas

We are officially in the holiday season and just coming out of Thanksgiving where many families had to cancel or drastically modify their annual gatherings and traditions, if there was ever a year that needed a double dose of comfort and joy, it’s 2020. Normally all of us would be making the tough decisions right now of which holiday party they were going to attend or trying to figure out to make it to two in one night and have all the fun of the season. Making our own lists of shopping that needed to get finished, decorating our homes, and wrapping gifts for friends and family. This year, our calendars are empty, to-do lists are shorter (okay, maybe that one isn’t a bad thing), and houses are getting decorated earlier than ever because we just want something – anything – to feel happy and right again.

One of the best parts of the holidays here in Winston-Salem is the annual Holiday Parade that always ends with the arrival of Santa. I don’t care how old you are, there is just something so magical about heading into downtown late in the afternoon and waiting for the sun to set so you can watch the floats and the marching bands and dancers passing you by. And while this year the parade will be a little bit different, you will be happy to hear that will, in fact, be happening! This year, our city will celebrate the Winston-Salem Jaycees Drive-Thru Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 4:00 pm and it will be a reverse parade!

What’s a Reverse Parade you ask?  Only the most special and wonderful event of the season!! Participant’s that would traditionally march through the streets will be lined up in specific areas on 4th Street starting at Broad Street to the corner of Trade Street where the Parade will turn left and continue onto Trade Street.  Those who would normally watch from the streets will now lineup in their vehicles at the Winston-Salem Truist Stadium prior to 4PM, drive down Broad Street, turning Right on 4th Street and then Left on Trade Street.

Another event that had to be cancelled this year was the annual Twin City Santa toy drive and semi-formal which was always a large time for those that attended. While it was a great night of getting dressed up, dancing, and having fun with your friends, it also filled a big need for our community in the toys that were donated to help the Salvation Army fill the wishes of many of the children in Winston that otherwise would have gone without anything at Christmas. With the massive amounts of people unemployed right now who are struggling just to keep the lights on and food on the table, this year’s reverse Parade will be in partnership with the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and Twin City Santa.

All participants are encouraged to bring toys to donate to Twin City Santa for their Annual Toy Drive. If you can donate, they ask that you bring a new, unwrapped toy or toys when you come to the parade. Collection Locations will be set up at the Truist Stadium and all along the route! What a great way to bring happiness to a child who otherwise may not have Christmas at all!

This has been a long and tumultuous year for every single one of us. I personally cannot think of a better way to recapture some of the happiness that was snatched out of our hands than to continue a 30 year tradition like the Holiday Parade. So throw on your ugly Christmas sweater, fill a thermos full of hot chocolate, grab your family, and head downtown December 5th! Your holiday spirit will definitely get a well-deserved boost!