Standing among the crowd was former Standard Coosa-Thatcher Cotton Mill worker Helen Spoon. Older than many of the people surrounding her, the longtime Piedmont resident says she likes to attend the parade each year.
“It brings out the spirit, I think,” Spoon said. “I think it helps people to realize it’s Christmas.”
The parade was one of three community Christmas events people in Piedmont could choose from Saturday. The evening event was preceded by a community craft fair and followed by a drive-through holiday display at the Piedmont Sports Complex.
The Christmas events are important, Mayor Bill Baker said, because they help unite the community and the parade gives people a chance to be a part of a public ceremony,
“Anybody can be part of the parade if they want to be,” Baker said.
With a blue-flashing Piedmont police vehicle in the lead, the parade included several floats, antique vehicles, young beauty queens, fire trucks and the high school band.
Piedmont parents Kelley and Ben Carroll brought their 3-year-old daughter Lleyton Carroll to the parade. The Carrolls said they come to the parade each year and enjoy it even more now that they're parents.
“It’s just a tradition,” Ben Carroll said. “Our parents both took us to parades so it’s just something we want to continue with our daughter.”
The parade float entries varied in appearance but many were built by churches and shared a theme in that they were telling biblical stories. The Bethel Family Worship Church built a 31-foot float formed to look like a giant boat.
Written in large white letters were the phrases “Jesus saves” and “Don’t miss the boat.” The float was lit with Christmas lights and carried church members, one of whom was dressed as Noah.
Another church parade float was covered in white sheeting and filled with people dressed as angels. One float featured a faux palm tree with Christmas lights and an inflatable Santa.
Following the parade, cars began trailing into the Christmas display tour at the Piedmont Sports Complex, where about 15 Christmas scenes, painted and decorated, lined a drive for people to see.
Organizer Roger Keenum said Friday about 150 cars drove through to see the sights and that a bigger crowd was hoped for on the weekend; tonight’s display opens at 6 p.m.
“I really don’t want to see the last night come to pass,” Keenum said.
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LGaddy_Star.