by Amie Sites
For Flora residents, Christmas came a little early this year.
Reindeer, elves and Santa could been seen on the streets of Flora Saturday afternoon for the 27th annual Flora Community Club Christmas Parade.
A contracting truck with reindeer antlers attached to the top was followed by a white truck with a Christmas tree sitting next to children wearing red and green in the bed of the truck. A man with the Salin Bank float was dressed up as Buddy from the movie “Elf” and a choir group wearing red and green elf hats waved to the crowd watching from sidewalks. These contestants and more came together for the parade.
Before the event began, families gathered with their children and sat on the sidewalk waiting in anticipation. Other people could be seen traveling into local shops.
The event in Flora began at 12:30 and people participating in the parade traveled down Center Street to Main Street and ended at Flora Park.
Danielle Hicks-Appleton, parade chairman, said there were 49 entries into the “Inside Santa’s Workshop” themed parade.
“I think the parade went well,” Hicks-Appleton. “We had great weather. Some previous years it has rained or snowed during the parade.”
Hicks-Appleton, who has been chairman of the event since 2003, said the parade began in 1985. Ann Brown, who was the chairman of the first parade, was parade marshal with her husband Bob Brown.
Families lined both sides of Center Street, where the event took place. Children ran excitedly to the edge of the sidewalk so they could grab candy passed from people walking by.
Lauren Claxton, a sixth grader at Carroll Elementary School, said she enjoyed the parade.
“I loved everyone getting together with my friends,” Lauren said.
Sophia Carson, a sixth grader at Carroll Elementary School, said she enjoyed the holiday atmosphere.
“I like being able to celebrate Christmas by watching the floats,” Sophia said.
Hicks-Appleton said her favorite entry was Center Stage Dance Academy, who won Best Walking Group.
Judges of the parade, Deanna Herr, Angela Moreman and Gail Enniss Downham, gave five awards.
The group did a dance in front of the judges, Hicks-Appleton said.
One of the emcees of the parade, Bret Rinehart, has helped out with the parade for years.
Rinehart said he continues to help because he enjoys doing it.
“It’s a spirit-filled day,” Rinehart said. “It brings families together and it’s just fun.”
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.