by Sarah Einselen
Despite temperatures that dipped to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, Logansport residents ventured out on Broadway Friday evening to watch Logansport light up with the city’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving parade.
Light Up Logansport drew 37 different parade floats, many of them new this year. The 12th annual parade featured everyone from Miss Cass County draped in a fur coat from Cole Clothing Museum to Toy Story’s Woody driving a tractor with most of the other Toy Story characters in tow.
“It’s something we do every year,” said Kelli Campbell, 33, a Logansport mother who brought three children with her. “It’s the beginning of Christmas.”
The family started coming about seven years ago and has made it a family tradition. Camped out just in front of the parking lot of Security Federal Savings Bank, they said the night wasn’t the coldest one they remembered.
“There was one year that it was worse than this,” Campbell said.
“And it was snowing!” piped up Atraea Owens, 11.
She and siblings Seri Campbell, 6, and Travis Campbell, 14, bundled up in fleece blankets and held on tight to cups of free hot chocolate handed out near Santa’s tent.
“They should’ve just done it yesterday,” Campbell said, referring to the comparatively balmy 54-degree Thanksgiving evening.
Parade floats lit up Broadway from Eighth Street down to Fourth Street starting at 7 p.m. Judges seated on a platform on Broadway between Fifth and Sixth streets chose the entry from Cass/Pulaski Community Corrections for their award.
The parade committee’s choice award went to A. Raymond Tinnerman, whose float featured a host of Disney characters hard at work in the Disney toy workshop.
“I think it went great,” said Jan Fawley, committee member and Logansport parks administrator. The parade’s perennial traffic problems and generator failures didn’t seriously interfere with the overall experience, she said.
At the start of the parade, sirens from a dozen emergency vehicles drowned out all other sound, then gave way to the sputter of the Logansport Shrine Club’s scooters, the melodies and percussion of the Logansport High School marching band and the young voices of the Logansport Children’s Choir.
Some parade watchers were impressed by the variety of new floats and by the marching band, whose members were decked out in battery-powered short strings of Christmas lights.
“We enjoyed the band,” said Maritza Camarena, 27, who with her two children Aliyah and Cain Achilles Camarena and husband Cain Camarena watched the parade. “We did not really enjoy the weather.”
Organizers conceded that the bitter cold thinned the crowd somewhat, but the hardy folks who braved it were also treated to hot dogs, popcorn and cups of hot chocolate provided by multiple downtown businesses and organizations.
Young children also got to take refuge from the cold in Santa’s tent before the parade, where they could sit on his lap and tell him their biggest Christmas wishes.
Santa — who by day goes by the alias Larry Grandstaff, a fixture at Light Up Logansport for about the last seven years — had family show up from Evansville as well as Wisconsin and South Carolina to take in the parade over their Thanksgiving weekend.
Afterward, organizers and other volunteers gathered up road barricades and shut off their two-way radios as the crowd quickly dispersed.
Fawley switched off her radio shortly after 8 p.m. “Signing off for 2012, Light Up Logansport,” she said.
“It’s another year in the books. We love it.”
Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 574-732-5151.