It all started in 1974. A youth group at Trinity Lutheran Church is said to have come up with the idea. Only twice in its history has it been canceled. The Catsquare Christmas Parade is a Lincoln County icon.
The weekend before the parade, which is always (with those two exceptions) on the second Saturday in December, Catsquare holds its election. Voters make their choices at the Catsquare SUperette. Chosen are Miss Catsquare, Little Miss Catsquare, and the Mayor of Cat Squre--whose only duty is to ride in the parade.
The parade always starts at the Zur Leonard/Dan Rhyne Road intersection with Catsquare Road and proceeds southward through Catsquare to Bill Sain Road, a distance of about a mile and a half.
There are some controversies--the first of them the question of whether it's Cat Square (two words) or Catsquare. Another is how one of the traditions began--the painting of the cat in the Catsquare intersection (Reepsville Road/Reeps Grove Church Road) that happens around midnight on the night before parade day.
We have it on good authority that if began with a group of young ladies having dinner at Fox's Fish Camp in Lincolnton. Deciding on what they might do after dinner, the suggestion was made by one of them (who may or may not have been a beauty queen) that they paint a cat in the middle of the road at the intersection. Several cans of spray paint later, the group accomplished their task.
Most years, the weather has not been a problem. It rained on the parade in 2013. In 2017 the parade got canceled for the first time--because of snow. It was also canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
The first parade had trucks, a few horses, and a couple of floats. In addition to the Mayor, Grand Marshals have been named some years. Singer & tv host ("The Little Rascals") Fred Kirby was one of the first. Others included newspaper columnist Kays Gary, tv news reporter and author Bob Inman, and tv news anchor Doug Mayes. There won't be a Grand Marshal this year. Gladys Sain, who was the chief organizer of the parade for many years, was honored in 2018, the year after she passed, when family members served as marshals in her place.
Gladys served as Mayor in multiple years in the 1970s. That's another part of the tradition, voting for Mayor of Cat Square and choosing a Miss Catsquare and Little Miss Catsquare. The 'voting' takes place the weekend before the parade at the Catsquare Superette. Last weekend, 'voters' nominated Michael Sain, Shorty Warlick and Dr. Jason Glass as the candidates for this year. Those who like can vote for their choice at the trailer at Catsquare Superette this Saturday (Dec. 3rd). That's when you can also vote for a Miss Catsquare (7th grade to age 18) and Little Miss Catsquare (kindergarten to 6th grade). Anyone entering a horse, mule or ATV in the parade needs to pre-register at that trailer on Saturday. All other entries will complete their entry form while in-line for the parade on Dec. 10th. Lineup this year will be like last--on Catsquare Road from Zur Leonard Road northward. Those entries who want to be judged for awards should be in line by 11:30. The parade used to start at 2 PM, but it got moved up to a 1 PM start in 2018. Many of those who rode horses in the parade also rode them from their farms to the parade lineup--and since the horses went last in the parade, they didn't get started home until it was starting to get dark, especially if it was cloudy, so the start time was moved up to 1 PM.
Jamie Houser was elected Mayor last year. Benji Yount served as Mayor in 2018 & 2019. Chosen as Little Miss Catsquare last year was Harper Sain, the daughter of Tyler and Lindsay Sain. Miss Catsquare 2021 was Addison Sain, daughter of Brad and Paula Sain. Catsquare Parade t-shirts will also be available (while the supply lasts) at the trailer this Saturday.