More than 110 parade entries kicked off the Holiday Season in style as the parade snaked its way through downtown Jasper. The parade lasted nearly two hours and from my vantage point the droves of people that flocked to Jasper stayed for every second of seasonal bliss.
Perhaps the mild weather helped bolster the crowd as Mayor Sonny Posey estimated at least 8,000 people lined the streets to get a view of the cleverly designed floats and old Saint Nick himself.
Courthouse Square was blanketed by thousands of people and the golfer in me likened the scene along 19th Street to a fairway lined 12 deep to watch Tiger Woods in a major PGA event.
The Mayor and I agree that his estimate errs on the conservative side. I would not be surprised if more than 10,000 people attended.
Much praise goes out to Chamber Executive Director Linda Lewis and her many helpers. She was amazed at Thursday’s turnout, especially since the Chamber decided to postpone its parade due to inclement weather just two days prior.
“What can I say? Words escape me. It was definitely the best parade to date,” Lewis said.
“To have a Christmas parade this size in our community is definitely an undertaking. Sometimes I don’t think the public fully grasps all the behind-the-scenes preparation in order to make everything come together,” Lewis continued. “I would like to thank everyone that had an entry in this year’s parade. The quality of floats was amazing, and you could definitely feel the community embrace the Spirit of Christmas.”
One area business who went out of its way to make the night special for area children was Jasper Auto Sales. Several community members and employees of the used car dealership handed out 10,000 sets of Mardi Gras-style beads, hundreds of toys and around 60 new bicycles. The faces of the children who received those bikes brightened the streets of downtown Jasper as much or more than the Christmas lights that decorated many of the parade’s entrants.
Lewis attributed the success of the parade to community involvement. So many people, businesses and organizations play a vital role, she noted.
“Businesses, non-profits, local government, children, parents, spectators, judges and even Santa, they all made it happen. And my hat’s off to the Jasper Police Department, which has a very difficult job in lining up entries, blocking streets and watching out for the safety of spectators,” Lewis adds.
I concur. Kudos to everyone that lifted a finger to make our Christmas Parade unique to Jasper and Walker County!
Jack McNeely is Publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.