Kenly, N.C. — A lack of money and volunteers is forcing the Town of Kenly to turn off the holiday music downtown that has traditionally rung in the annual Christmas parade.
In years past, the music could be heard for several blocks in and around downtown Kenly while residents awaited for the parade, which kicks off this year at 7 p.m. Thursday and features more than 100 entries.
Chamber of Commerce President Dale Moore said the town simply can't afford the music.
"We have tried every way we can to try to make that happen, but with budget cuts, people don't have the money to contribute to the parade," he said. "The Kenly parade is one of the biggest traditions. I think it's 51 years now."
Former parade director Rick Watson said the event will still please crowds with plenty of music.
"We're going to have a parade. It's going to be full of music," he said. "We're going to have our bands. We're going to have our church floats."
Still, some residents say they'll miss the pre-parade tunes.
"I'm sad about that. I love the Christmas music," said Mary Huff.
"I really do love the Christmas music and all that, but I'm looking forward to the parade," said Stacy Beasley.
While one tradition ends, though, new ones are lighting the path to a festive holiday season in Kenly. A community Christmas caroling event, featuring school and church choirs, is one such event.