For Hometown News
HOBE SOUND -- December 2012 will mark the 24th year of service as a Hobe Sound chamber volunteer for Lillian Johnson, who chairs the annual Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade, manages the front desk two days a week, trains new volunteers and contributes to multiple committees year round.
Ms. Johnson has coordinated the parade for close to 18 years with the help of friends Michael Ennis, Bobbi Kaufman and other chamber volunteers.
The 27th annual parade, presented by Treasure Coast Irrigation/Rood Landscape will take place Dec. 1 and is a free community event.
An art stroll on Dixie Highway is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the parade begins at 1 p.m. The parade route is Dixie Highway and Bridge Road.
Ms. Johnson spends countless hours coordinating entries and contacting participants; everyone from chamber members to local organizations, children's groups, schools, dignitaries and special guests such as Ronald McDonald, Smokey the Bear and most importantly, Santa Claus.
She solicits sponsors and sells advertising in the parade section of the Pelican newspaper to help offset costs and keep the parade free for participants.
Ms. Johnson's to-do list starts in August and stretches through December, even after the parade is over, as she always sends thank you letters to the VIPs and sponsors.
"We are so grateful for what Lillian does for our chamber and for the Hobe Sound community," said Angela Hoffman, executive director of the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce.
"We are so proud of the Christmas parade and of Lillian's dedicated work. She is so committed to making it the best event, showcasing Hobe Sound's small-town appeal and unique charm to the more than 4,000 visitors and residents that attend the parade. Lillian is more than an amazing volunteer. She is beloved by so many in our community."
This year Ms. Johnson has once again coordinated a magnificent holiday show for spectators. She has more than 70 parade entries and 1,500 participants ready to march through the streets of downtown Hobe Sound with decorated cars and floats. Bands from local middle and high schools will play holiday tunes and Santa will ride atop a fire truck.
"This parade just would not happen if it wasn't for Lillian Johnson, her committee and community partners like the fire department and sheriff's office, not to mention chamber members who graciously sponsor year after year," said Ms. Hoffman.
Supporting sponsors include Bridge Boat and RV Storage, the Hobe Sound Soccer Club and Metz Construction Company.