ELIZABETHTOWN — The Christmas season officially kicked off Sunday under perfectly blue and unseasonably warm skies with the seventh annual Elizabethtown Christmas Parade through the downtown business district.
Hundreds of folks lines both sides of West Broad Street, and the crowd wrapped around onto South Poplar Street as the parade marched from the Elizabethtown Municipal Building to the Fresh Foods parking lot.
For the first time, a town ordinance prohibited parade entrants from tossing candy to curbside observers — though some hand-delivered candy and other items to waiting children of all ages, and a few still managed to toss candy from their float or vehicle.
“I didn’t realize they weren’t allowed to do that this year,” said Thomas Wynn of White Lake, whose granddaughter stood ready with a bag. “She made sure to bring that bag with her.”
The 45-minute parade featured dozens of entries — from pageant queens, elected officials, fire and rescue squads, Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy groups, East Bladen High cheerleaders, horses, classic cars, church groups, the regionally famous Dunn Clowns, three Sudan mini-car groups and numerous floats.
The Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce group was carried in a white carriage pulled by a horse belonging to Cecil Wilkes of Elizabethtown. Executive Director Dawn Maynard publicized the seasonal message of shopping local by carrying a large sign for the crown to see as she rode in the carriage.
“This is always such a nice parade,” said Wilbur Johnson of White Oak. “The whole family looks forward to it — it works out perfectly because everyone is together for the holiday weekend, and the grandchildren love seeing the clowns and horses.”
And, of course, Santa Claus. Ol’ Kris Kringle was in his usual place at the end of the parade, and the children delighted in catching his eye and getting a wave. A few even ventured up to the jolly ol’ elf’s carriage to get a personal handshake.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or email@example.com.