120518 parade

Santa Claus will head to the downtown gazebo for photos and treats on Thursday after the Cave Spring Christmas Parade, which is scheduled to start around 6 p.m. / Doug Walker

"Come early, have lunch, enjoy our antique places and Christmas shop," said City Council member Nancy Fricks, one of the organizers.

The line up starts at 4:30 p.m. at Perry Farm Road, with the cavalcade officially set to start at “dark-thirty.”

"That's probably six or six thirty," Fricks said with a laugh. "It takes about a good hour or more to line up everybody and the horses."

The parade heads straight through town to Rolater Park, so every spot along the road is a good one. The theme this year is the same as Rome's — A King Is Born — in case anyone wants to bring their float on down, but always expect surprises.

"It's unique. That's all I can say. It's come-as-you-are," Fricks said.

That's because there's no pre-registration and no cost to enter. People just "show up and join in," she said. The annual event typically draws dozens of creatively decked vehicles, from ATVs and golf carts to classic cars, wagons and flatbed trucks.

Santa Claus will be bringing up the rear on the city's fire truck, and will head over to the gazebo after the estimated 25- to 30-minute procession ends.

"That's for anyone who wants to take pictures, and we'll be giving out treats for the kids," Fricks said.

Grand marshals Sandra and Larry Lindsey also will be awarding trophies for the best floats: first, second and third place.

Rain is forecast for the weekend. Fricks said they're still hoping the forecast will change, but they'll announce an alternate date later if it doesn't.

Established in 1832 in southern Floyd County at what is now the nexus of U.S. 411 and Ga. 100, Cave Spring boasts a population of about 1,200 and more than 90 structures on the National Register of Historic Places.

Its namesake spring, where the city gets its drinking water, flows from the limestone cave in Rolater Park that is open for visitors during the day.