MOUNT GILEAD — The mild weather and promise of a parade filled Main Street sidewalks and shops Friday evening with families, carolers and shoppers.
The atmosphere was joyful as friends called out greetings and visited in restaurants and stores as they waited for the parade. After a year without the Christmas parade, the excitement was reflected in lots of smiles and laughter.
New this year was the chocolate bar at Gilead Fitness. Volunteers Rhonda and Pete Dettra welcomed a long line that waited for a cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.
The Village Gathering Place had a steady stream of visitors checking out vendors’ handcrafted jewelry, candles, jams, books and other gift items.
The Sauce Guys ran out of pork, beef, baked beans and cornbread just before the parade began at 7 p.m. They were sorry to disappoint customers, but were happy to see the turnout for the parade.
People gathered around the Christmas tree on the square as carolers sang and Pastor Jeff Canankamp gave a Christmas prayer. Children gazed in wonder at the bright lights and were excited to greet Santa.
The crowd grew to be three or four deep on the sidewalks as dads hoisted kids onto their shoulders to view the parade.
Band members from several county high schools carried a giant American flag to open the parade with the honor guard. One of the first floats was “In Loving Memory of Shelley Planey,” the former Chamber of Commerce Director who passed away this year.
The crowd cheered and shouted “Merry Christmas” as their favorite floats passed by.
Awards for “Old Fashioned Christmas”
Spectacular Lights: Given to the ANY entry that presents an outstanding display of lights and/or other type of illumination -PARK NATIONAL BANK
Best Parade Theme: Float or Unit following the chosen theme the closest – GARLINGER and BRUBAKER FAMILIES
Tin Soldier Award: Marching/Walking Group that has the most creative use of costumes, lights and interpretation of theme. – HIGHLAND HIGH SCHOOL BAND
Best Use of Costumes or Props: (Float or Unit): Given to an entry that has the best overall originality, creativity, appearance, and interpretation of theme with uniqueness of costuming. MORROW COUNTY LIBRARIES – STILT WALKERS (Special mention to Morrow Little Theatre)
Best Decorated Vehicle or Golf Cart – for those entrants you do not wish to enter a full float, but just your vehicle. MORROW COUNTY DENTAL
Most Creative Production: Given to an entry that has the best overall originality, creativity, appearance and uniqueness of carrying out the theme. – TIDY TIM’S
Best Religious Theme: Given to the unit that best displays the Christian Message of Christmas – WALK THROUGH BETHLEHEM -WOLFE CREEK SUPPLY
Best Community Spirit – interesting, inspirational, innovative –including schools, church groups, service organizations. – MG FIRE DEPARTMENT