Archived Story

Parade highlights community spirit

Published 11:51am Thursday, December 6, 2012

If there is one thing that can be said about Alexander City’s annual Christmas parade, it’s that the community goes all out.

As I stood on the side of the road to shoot photos of the passing floats and smiling faces, I took a moment to observe the crowd. I was surrounded by hundreds of people lining Cherokee Road, sitting in the backs of their vans or trucks or nestled into folding tailgate chairs with children in their laps.

I heard downtown was even more of a madhouse – people packed in like sardines, in some places six rows deep, to watch as the floats wound through the roundabout.

Unlike some of the Christmas parades in years past that were marked by extreme cold or bad weather, the night was extraordinarily mild – most people I saw didn’t have more than a light jacket.

And as I am every year, I was so impressed at the level of detail of the parade floats. People had to have been working on those for weeks, and I hope everyone who put time, money and effort into a float know how happy it made the children and families watching the parade.

One of the cutest moments I saw throughout the night was when Dr. George Hardy’s float came to a stop near where I was taking photos. A group of children was standing to my right, and Dr. Hardy skated over to them in his penguin suit.

He high-fived a few of the kids and then did a wobbly little dance on rollerblades, much to the children’s delight. I was impressed he stayed standing – had I tried to perform such a move, I surely would have fallen over. The children laughed, and then Dr. Hardy threw his head back and laughed as well.

I don’t think anyone who saw it happen within a 50-foot radius could help but smile and laugh, too.

I also got tickled at a group of Boy Scouts that took time to weave back and forth in a shaky line from one side of the street to the other, giving high-fives to children and adults alike.

All in all, the parade was truly a community-wide event – hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all of those who put in the time to be a part of this event – those at the chamber of commerce who organized it, the police who blocked off the streets and directed traffic, business owners who built floats and the people who walked or rode through the streets shouting “Merry Christmas!” to the crowds.

The parade was a great start to the season and undoubtedly put everyone in the Christmas spirit.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Spears is general manager and managing editor for The Outlook.