Pastor Maurice Johnson has been selected by the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce as the Leesville Christmas Parade Grand Marshal. Johnson is a long-time resident of Leesville and Pastor of Johnson Temple Church of God in Christ on Nona Street.

Director of the Chamber of Commerce Anne Causey said Johnson was selected as a loyal member who also serves on the board of directors. “He is loved and respected by every person in Vernon Parish,” Causey said. “He’s always the first person to step up to help. We wanted to find a way to properly honor him for his service to Vernon Parish throughout the years.”

Johnson will lead the parade starting at 5:30 p.m. with line-up beginning near the railroad tracks on N. Third St. and ending by KCS Railroad on S. Third Street.

There have been about 85 entries into the parade this year, Causey said. She encourages everyone to attend the parade and other festivities planned for the day.

A jambalaya cook-off will begin around 11 a.m. on Saturday with tasters voting for their favorite. One winner will be announced at 3 p.m. with a $1000 award.

At the stage on Third St. raffle tickets will be handed out directly after the parade for four $25 gift cards, two for $50, and one for $100, while judges vote on floats. After float winners are announced, families will find Santa Claus at the VFW for photos and various events throughout the day at the Polk Theatre area.

The Leesville High School Choir will sing Christmas carols 6:30 p.m. at Polk Theatre (the “old stage”) with the lighting of the community Christmas tree at 7 p.m. Vernon Community Orchestra will perform at 7:30.