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Downtown Mountain City alive with Christmas music

By: Veronica Burniston
Freelance Writer

Parents and children, teens and elders gathered along Main Street on December 7, 2013, awaiting the much anticipated Christmas Parade.
Bundled in heavy jackets, winter scarves, and warm hats, children danced from foot to foot, waving their empty blue bags in the air as their parents cradled their hot cocoa and the time drew near. As the clock neared 5:30 p.m., the floats stood ready in the First Baptist Church parking lot, the participants also a muddle of excitement and nerves. Despite the cold night setting in, hundreds of people lined Main Street, sat in their cars, or watched from the warmth of a restaurant window as the hammering of a drum rolled through the night air, announcing the beginning of the festivities.
Maroon and gold glistened beneath the street lights as the Johnson County High School Marching Band led the parade down Main Street. Following the band, an assortment of floats, decked with Christmas trees, lights, Biblical characters, and Christmas scenes, drifted close behind.

Sparkling as bright as a family Christmas tree, Danny Herman Trucking delivered a delightfully festive float: a truck streamed with blue, gold, and red Christmas lights, with a fully-ornamented Christmas tree surrounded by a group of children on the flatbed, wishing the onlookers a Merry Christmas. Not far behind came the Jericho Shriners delivering candy to the children in the audience, followed by an inflatable snowman and a group of dancers.
Pleasant Grove Baptist brought to life “O Holy Night” with a manger scene, shepherd boys, three kings, and a cluster of little angels. State Line Baptist Church rolled by on a tractor-drawn float fully ornamented with a beautiful Christmas tree beneath a white trellis. Next came trucks with haloed angels, a gingerbread house, a Happy Birthday Jesus cake, garland and lights, a second manger (“Away in a Manger” themed), flashing Christmas trees, and an Elvis impersonator striking poses to “Blue Christmas.” Needless to say, Elvis was followed by a number of whistles and whoops as he strutted down Main, basking in the headlights of a Mountain Air truck as he went.
Proceeding “Blue Christmas,” a group of bundled carolers sang on a white float with a wooden cross, Christian Boys Club of Mountain City brought not only garland, Santa hats, and a decorated Christmas tree but colorfully wrapped presents as well. Modern Woodmen pulled a blue garlanded float, which was followed by two more mangers, the Johnson County Cruisers, the National Guard in armored vehicles, the Johnson County Knights on motorcycles, and several more decorative trucks.
Many excited shouts came from children as a Santa on a horse-drawn sleigh rolled past and the red sirens of a dozen or so fire trucks turned the night sky above Main Street a crimson hue. Near the end of the parade came a second Santa, this one waving to onlookers from atop a large Mountain City Fire Department Rescue vehicle.
After the last fire truck, children quickly gathered the remnants of candy off the street, thrown from the passing floats, and families hurried to their vehicles with thoughts of Christmas lights and Christmas trees and warm car heaters in their minds. Although the parade had lasted only an hour due to the cold temperatures Saturday night, it will last far longer within the hearts of the onlookers this year as the Christmas spirit lingers in the laughter of children, the joy at reuniting with loved ones, the retelling of a child born in a manger, and the cold yet fond memories of Christmas parades.
In total, twenty floats participated in this year’s parade, making it the biggest Mountain City Christmas Parade thus far. This year’s float winners are as follows:
In the category of churches, Pleasant Grove won first place with its manger and State Line Baptist with its red tractor took second place.
In the category of businesses, first place went to Johnson County Bank with their candy-land gingerbread house while second place went to Danny Herman Trucking.
In the category of Non-profit, Steve Bishop took first place and the Christian Boys Club of Mountain City came in second.
And lastly, in the category of Trucks, first place went to Petal Pushers’ Greenhouse while Ricky Huffman took second place.
A special thanks is owed to the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce for their support and sponsorship of the Mountain City Christmas Parade. For more information on upcoming events in Johnson County, visit the Chamber’s website at http://johnsoncountytnchamber.org.