Fair weather brought a record crowd to Pinetops’ 37th annual Christmas Parade Saturday morning.
“I think the good weather brought one of the biggest crowds that we’ve ever had,” said Pinetops Mayor Vines Cobb.
Parade announcer Wayne Lewis agreed.
“The weather’s perfect. If I had ordered it, I’d have messed it up,” he said.
The parade itself boasted about 80 entries, including two marching bands – Southeast Halifax and Southwest Edgecombe – and volunteer fire departments from Pinetops, Macclesfield, Conetoe and Sharp Point, to name a few.
“We had a lot of variety – the antique cars, the fire departments that were represented,” Cobb said. His personal favorites were the Sudan Temple horse patrol and Sudan Prowlers’ cars, the homemade floats and the Southeast Halifax Marching Band.
“I like the cars,” said Gloria Petteway of Conetoe. Her favorite antique car in the parade was a brightly colored converted El Camino.
Megan Bridges, 15, of Battleboro, participated in the parade with her Girl Scout troop.
“It was fun. I got to throw candy out to the little kids,” Bridges said. Kayla Bridges, also of Battleboro, said Abrams’ patriotic float with the lady singing “God Bless the USA” was her favorite part of the parade.
For 13-year-old Pilar Pusey, also of Battleboro, the best part of the parade came at the end.
“I got to see my favorite man, Santa Claus,” Pusey said.
It would be hard to believe that anyone enjoyed the Christmas parade more than the children who lined the streets, scrambling for candy and waiting eagerly for a glimpse of Santa Claus.
“Fire trucks and Santa Claus” were 3-year-old Paige Howard’s favorite part of the parade. She attended the event with her twin sister Payton, 5-year-old sister Olivia. 7-year-old sister Helen and mother Stephanie Jenkins, all of Fountain. Jenkins’ favorite part of the parade was “the [Sudan monster] trucks doing the figure eights.”
“There seems to be a lot more people this year,” said Jenkins. “A lot of people come out. It supports a lot of the businesses here.”
Jenkins and her family have a tradition of visiting the Piggly Wiggly in Pinetops after the parade each year. Piggly Wiggly had a professional float with its famous pig mascot riding in the seat of honor. Service Drug Store was also among the Main Street Pinetops businesses with a professional float in this year’s parade.
“I’ve been here 34 years and every year people look forward to it,” said Johnny Hogg, owner of Service Drug Store. “It brings a lot of people to town. It introduces them to Pinetops and Main Street. It’s a good way to let them see some of the improvements [such as the new street lights.]”
“People take a lot of pride in Pinetops,” Lewis said. To him, the parade is an annual event that “pulls everybody together.”
“It brings unity to the community,” Cobb said. “We get together as a team and do the things necessary to bring the parade here.”