City’s annual parade kicks off the holidays
For 6-year-old Alexis Woodward, the best part of the city’s Christmas parade isn’t the floats.
“[Santa’s] the best part of the parade because he’s the one who makes the tree light up in the end,” the Stonewall Elementary School student said excitedly.
Alexis was among thousands of residents who packed the sidewalks to watch this year’s parade and tree-lighting ceremony Monday night.
Donny Turner, of Winchester, said he thought the event was bigger, better and warmer this year.
Temperatures were about the same as in 2012 — in the mid- to upper 30s — but the wind wasn’t whipping like it was a year ago.
“The turnout is really good,” Turner said, with his granddaughter and dog by his side.
Turner, who attends the parade annually, said the decorations were also better this year.
His granddaughter, Kendall Kennedy, 10, said the lights and cheerleaders were her favorite part of the parade.
“It’s very, very cool,” the Evendale Elementary School student said.
More than 40 bands, floats and units traveled the parade route. Inflatable snowmen, Mickey Mouse, and living nativity characters from Fellowship Bible Church all made appearances.
Children scrambled on the side of the streets for candy as high school bands marched to beat of their music.
“It was pretty good because there was a lot of lights and they were throwing out lots of candy,” said a bundled-up Colin Gallager, 9.
The Stonewall Elementary student said his favorite part was the BMX bikers.
“They had all those bikes and skateboarding and it looked like a lot of fun,” he exclaimed.
Bennett Smith, 11 — who attends Indian Hollow Elementary School — was one of those BMX riders.
“I just think it’s fun,” he said of his second year riding in the parade. “I normally don’t even get to be in the parade and I have to sit out and watch.”
He said his favorite part of riding in the event was being able to be with his friends.
After the parade was over, residents circled in front of the Old Court House Civil War Museum to see Santa Claus turn on the lights using a special candy cane paddle switch “powered by Christmas magic.”
His counterpart, Mrs. Claus, said she loved riding on a firetruck in the parade and seeing all the children.
“It’s just been awesome, I can’t wait to do it again,” she said, adding that she wanted to “wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.”
— Contact Melissa Boughton at email@example.com