OUR OPINION: It’s time to pare down to one big Christmas parade

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Nearly a decade ago, an economic report showed that Knoxville had fallen behind similar-sized regional cities, such as Chattanooga and Lexington, Ky., in part, because of leaders’ clannishness.

Instead of working together for the good of the city, leaders then were trying to stake out their own little piece of the pie for their own communities or interests

That situation has improved, and with it, so have Knoxville’s economy and attractiveness.

We raise this point because we fear the same is true in Roane County.

With three similarly sized towns, more often than not, the communities are pulling against each other

Pulling together, these three could exert the clout of a much larger town. All too often, they do not.

We’d like to suggest that pulling together for one big Christmas parade would be a way  to start seeing what we can do.

Originally, we thought the parade could be held at Roane County Park, or staged from Roane State Community College.

But then we had a better idea.

We could rotate the parade so that it falls in each of the three largest towns every three years.

Scheduling would be one advantage. The three-parade system has created a scheduling nightmare for other events, especially when inclement weather forces a change.

Another advantage would be convenience.

Many parade participants would just have one parade to march or ride in — not the three many are involved in now.

Best of all, the advantage of one big parade would be that it would draw audiences from one town to the streets of another.

And while they are there, out of their cars and looking around, they might notice businesses and attractions that they could check out.

There’s nothing like getting out of the car to get to know a place.

The one-parade model could build a greater sense of overall community and understanding between these communities and their residents.

If towns still feel competitve under the one-parade model, we would suggest they work to make the parade experience as hospitable as possible to paradegoers.

The season of goodwill to all may be just what we need to bring us all together.