Ring in the season on the 'Avenue'

Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.

Forget the sled and the reindeer. Santa Claus is coming to the historic Fifth Avenue/Pleasant Street District riding on a firetruck at Christmas On the Avenue, a holiday parade and community party with toys, food and holiday music. And you're invited.



What: Christmas On the Avenue.
When: Dec. 15. Parade, noon-1 p.m.; Christmas party, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Northwest Fifth Avenue from Northwest Third Street to 12th Street, then turn right at 12th Street to Seventh Avenue. coming to an end at the A. Quinn Jones School parking lot.
Cost: Free.
Information: 352-284-5242.

Christmas On the Avenue begins with a holiday parade from noon-1 p.m., followed by a Christmas party from 2-4 p.m. Dec. 15.

Christmas On the Avenue is sponsored by People, Organized, Working, Empowered, Renewed, or P.O.W.E.R. Group, which is under the umbrella of the historic Lincoln High School Alumni Association. Dr. Isaac Jones, one of the founders of P.O.W.E.R., said he grew up patronizing the Pleasant Street community, which was then a vibrant community with thriving businesses.

"We want to revitalize the Pleasant Street community," Jones said. "We want to promote business ownership, encourage consumer spending and promote the spirit of Christmas for the residents and children in the 5th Avenue and Pleasant Street communities."

The parade will start lining up at 10:45 a.m. behind the Old Mount Carmel Church on Northwest Fifth Avenue and Northwest Third Street. The parade route runs on Northwest Fifth Avenue. from Third Street to 12th Street and turns right on Northwest Seventh Avenue, coming to an end at the A. Quinn Jones School parking lot.

The Christmas community party will take place at the Tot Lot adjacent to the 2 Friends Coffee Shop on Northwest Fifth Avenue and 10th Street and across the street from the building that once housed Mom's Kitchen. The party will feature a toy giveaway, clowns, jugglers, balloon art, conversations with Santa, holiday music, and food and drinks for parents and their children.

Jones said the historic Lincoln High School Alumni Association will have a float in the parade. Jones said there will be about 35 units in the parade, including the Alachua County Fire Department; the Gainesville Police Department; Candace White, who is the former FAMU queen; the Mebane High School Alumni Association; Dr. Leanetta McNealy, newly elected Alachua County School Board member; the Buffalo Riders Motorcycle Club; marching bands; antique and restored cars; Ruby's Restaurant; Plummer Barbershop; Earl Young Barbershop; Sam Wesley Bail Bonds; George's Barbecue; Fades and Fros; Caribbean Queen Restaurant; and other participants.

"There will be surprises during the parade and there will be a random turkey giveaway along the parade route," Jones said.

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