CRESTVIEW — Two Christmas events are in store for north county residents on Saturday, one offering opportunities to admire and acquire the handiwork of local visual artists, and the other to celebrate this special time of year with the family at the annual Crestview Christmas Parade.


CRESTVIEW — Two Christmas events are in store for north county residents on Saturday.



The Okaloosa Arts Alliance-North kicks off the day with a holiday edition of its CALA: Crestview Area Loves the Arts festival 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crestview Public Library.



“This is a wonderful opportunity to see what our local artists have been creating and to pick up unique, handmade Christmas gifts,” alliance president Rae Schwartz said. “It’s also a great opportunity to support the arts and artists in our community.”



Exhibitors include ceramic artist Trace Connelly, wood turner Keith Gutshall, bookbinder Mary Richards and Viola Owens, who paints country motifs on decorative gourds. Area musicians will entertain throughout the event and some will offer CDs and other merchandise for sale.



Saturday evening, the annual Main Street Crestview Association Christmas Parade rolls at 5:30 p.m. when Grand Marshal Velma Conyers leads dozens of floats and marching units up the city’s main thoroughfare from south of the railroad crossing to the courthouse.



Conyers, who will soon turn 99, was a favorite choice to lead the parade, Main Street President Ellis Conner said. The idea germinated in June when the city’s Historic Preservation Board, of which he is a member, unveiled a historic marker in front of James R.L. Conyers Masonic Lodge.



Velma Conyers, a past Worthy Matron of the lodge’s Eastern Star chapter that bears her name, and a longtime community activist, attended the marker dedication ceremony at the lodge named in her late husband’s honor.



“She got up and told us how she feels about things. I didn’t forget about that,” Conner said. “Our planning committee that does the legwork for a lot of the Main Street events picks a grand marshal and we pick a theme. Our recommendation was Mrs. Conyers and some other names but hers kind of came to the top.”



This year’s parade theme is “Blessed are the Children.”



“It’s really got a significant meaning when you look in the dictionary because the children are our future, and we want to recognize and honor them,” Conner said.



Conner said Main Street Crestview expects nearly 100 or more organizations will be represented in Saturday evening’s parade. Fifty entrants had registered by Thanksgiving.