By Marlana Ward
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Mountain City to take part in the annual Christmas Parade tradition on Saturday, December 3rd. The weather was chilly but that did not keep the many excited children and Christmas enthusiasts of all ages from enjoying the display of Christmas spirit put on by local churches, businesses, and organizations.
This year’s theme was “The Magical Gifts of Christmas”. The most prominent gift represented during the evening was of course the gift of our savior, Jesus Christ. A majority of floats featured either scenes of the nativity or events from later in Jesus’ life such as his ministry and crucifixion. Adults and children alike wore huge smiles as they relayed the message of God’s gift to all as they traveled along the parade route.
Whimsy and childlike joy on Christmas morning was the theme of several parade floats. Whether the “Elves on Strike” or the adventures of toys come to life, onlookers waved enthusiastically when they saw their favorite Christmas character or toy passing by. One family participating in the parade made many children’s night as they handed out stuffed animals to kids along the parade route.
As the parade came to a stop for approximately 15 minutes, the Pride of Johnson County Marching Band performed a selection of songs for those in the middle of the parade route near the courthouse. Though it was a mystery for the rest of the parade participants and observers, everyone kept their smiles and Christmas joy as they eagerly waited for the parade to begin again and to see their favorite floats.
The Jericho Shriners entertained all along the route as they waved and played bluegrass music from their fun jalopies. On the opposite side of the automobile spectrum, Main Street was filled with the trucks of decades past as the classic trucks of yesteryear traveled along the parade route.
Youth groups of all types shared their love of Christmas with all as they rode by singing and waving to their friends and family. Many along the route had their cameras or mobile devices ready to capture the moment as their young family members traveled past.
The fire departments from all across Johnson County came together to form a line of bright red trucks and flashing lights as the parade came to an end. Santa Claus took his yearly ride through town to bring the official end to the parade as he rode along the parade route waving to the many wide-eyed kids who waved and shouted their greetings to Jolly Ole Saint Nick.
Every year floats that stand out and show special Christmas spirit are recognized by the Chamber of Commerce for their effort and execution. This year’s winners in the church category were Calvary Baptist Church in first place and Pleasant Grove Baptist Church taking second. Winning for the non-profit category was the Johnson County Humane Society with the Johnson County High School Cheerleaders placing second. In the business category, Danny Herman Trucking was awarded first place followed by Johnson County Bank in second.
The Mountain City Christmas Parade is always a highlight of the Christmas season in this small, mountain town. The opportunity to gather together and share smiles and season’s greetings with friends and neighbors from around the county is an important annual tradition for many in the community. The Johnson County Chamber of Commerce along with the numerous churches, organizations, and businesses from around the area do an excellent job every year expressing the reason for the season and the magical moments that make Christmas special for all.