At Monday night's meeting for Passion Play volunteers and former employees, new Board President Randall Christy announced that Eureka Springs this year will host its first-ever Celebrate Jesus Parade and accompanying all-day Gospel music concerts in Basin Park on Saturday, March 30, the day before Easter.
The following day on Easter Sunday, Christy said, the Great Passion Play will hold a Resurrection sunrise service at 7 a.m. at the amphitheater, as it has in many years past.
The new parade brings Eureka's total to eight during the extended tourist season, March through December. The city already has issued the parade permit, Christy said Monday evening.
It is being sponsored by the Western Carroll County Ministerial Association, which includes more than a dozen area churches of many denominations.
Christy's announcement at Smith Chapel Monday night brought cheers and applause from the attendees; a video of the announcement can be viewed at http://bit.ly/TXZCCt.
Organizers hope the parade will attract floats and participants including performers of live Gospel and contemporary Christian music, walkers and riders singing, reading Scripture, carrying banners and flags, as well as Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, church and youth groups and others wanting to participate to "celebrate the gift of Jesus," said Laura Nichols.
Also likely to participate are Christian motorcycle groups and horseback riders from the Green Forest Cowboy Church, Christy said excitedly.
"Let's show our community that Christians know how to come together around here," he said to a chorus of "Amens!" coming from the audience. "We don't care about divisions or denominations or anything like that -- we're going to celebrate Jesus. The day before Easter, let's make an impact!"
He also asked Passion Play volunteers, employees and former employees to support the Play and help spread the word by dressing for the parade in Passion Play costumes -- preferably their own, because the Play's own costumes are "threadbare," he said.
Before and after the parade, Basin Park will host performances by many difference Gospel music groups, which are still being determined, Nichols said. In between the musical performers, volunteers are being sought to read Scripture and offer prayers, she added.
Entry in the parade is free for everyone wanting to participate, she said.
Anyone interested in more information or wanting to volunteer to participate or help organize the day's events should contact Nichols via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at 479-253-8925.
Christian music groups interested in performing should contact Jim Swiggart via email at email@example.com.
The parade lineup will begin at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at a location to be determined, and the parade itself will begin at the library on Spring Street at 11:30 a.m. and proceed down Spring Street to the courthouse on Main Street, Nichols said.