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Christmas Parade draws young, old to downtown

With a big part of the city’s population turning out in spite of the distinct chill in the air, Thursday night’s Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade was a big success, said COC Director Francine Wasden.

“It turned out great and it really was tons of fun,” she added.

“It was cold, but that just added to the seasonal flavor of the event.”

There were a total of 51 entries in the annual holiday event, including floats and cars from a number of area businesses, civic and school clubs and churches.

Wasden said the high quality of many of the entries made it no easy decision for the judges, but they were able to narrow it down to winning entrants. Float winners were Greenville Pediatrics – First Place; Antioch East Baptist Church – Second Place, and W.O. Parmer Pep Squad. Vehicle winners were Lions Club – First Place; Corner Stop, Second Place and W. O. Parmer PTA – Third Place.

Wasden said it took a village of supporters to make the annual parade a success.

“I appreciate everyone who made it such a wonderful parade, from our judges and all the participants, to the vendors who supplied the parade candy – Sam’s, Wal-Mart, Fred’s and Super Foods,” Wasden said.

“We also appreciate Mayor Dexter McLendon and the City of Greenville for helping us put this all together, along with my assistant Annie Glenn Branum and the Chamber Board, who were hands-on Thursday night along the parade route.”

Prior to the parade, a flurry of activities were held downtown, including a Santa’s Workshop courtesy of Greenville Main Street; concessions in front of City Hall, and a carol sing by Antioch East Baptist Church in Confederate Park. Deejay Bill Campbell also played festive holiday music for the assembling crowd leading up to the 6 p.m. tree lighting ceremony in the park, while emcee David Norrell provided “color commentary” on the evening’s event.

“The choir was absolutely wonderful. David and Bill did a great job as always, and it all just went very well,” and we hope to make it even bigger and better next year,” Wasden said.

She said the Chamber Board is already discussing plans for next year’s event.

“We do want to make some adjustments concerning the candy. We’ve tried to keep it at the end of the parade to make things safer with a nighttime parade, but it still needs some tweaking. We are considering having some type of candy giveaway in the park prior to the parade next year, instead of having any thrown from the floats and vehicles,” Wasden said.