Centerville Christmas parade continues to grow

Sun News correspondentDecember 5, 2012 

CENTERVILLE -- Glenda Batson of Bonaire thought Centerville’s Christmas parade was the biggest and best yet.

Along with her husband, Glenn, Batson enjoyed Centerville’s third annual illuminated evening Christmas parade Saturday. Or more accurately, they enjoyed watching their two grandchildren, Colin and Caden Bostic, enjoy the parade.

Colin and Caden’s father, David Bostic, is a member of the Centerville Fire Department and was part of the parade. Their mother, Sommer, enjoyed the parade but spent a fair amount of time making sure the two boys weren’t edging too far into the street after candy. She assured them their dad would get some their way.

Officials said the parade was in fact the biggest yet with 44-plus participating floats, cars, dignitaries and marching bands.

It was the first year the parade had a high school marching band with Northside High School’s Blue Wind Marching Band joining in. In previous years, the parade’s date conflicted with band competitions.

“We had two marching bands this year,” said Krista Bedingfield, Centerville’s city clerk and a parade organizer. “We had Thomson Middle School and Northside High School. It was great because it really was like having our hometown bands playing. Thomson is in Centerville, and Northside is the high school most of our kids go to.”

Bedingfield said Thomson Middle plays another important role in the annual event because it’s where the parade originates. The parade then travels down Thomson Road and along Houston Lake Boulevard to the Galleria Mall, which it partially loops.

“It’s a hometown event, and it really has that feel even though people come from all over to watch,” Bedingfield said. “I think that’s part of what they enjoy. Local people and clubs get involved in all kinds of ways, and we’re especially grateful to principal Walter Stephens at Thomson Middle for all his help. I think having the parade in the evening with the floats lit up makes it really Christmasy.”

Earlier Saturday, the 55th Warner Robins Christmas Parade, hosted by the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, featured more than 120 organizations. Country singer Colby Dee, of Warner Robins, led the stream of decorative trucks and cars and marching groups along Watson Boulevard as this year’s grand marshal.

The parade happens every year, so there weren’t many who hadn’t already stood along the city’s busiest road. Kathy Prater, of Warner Robins, said she has been to every parade since 1975 when she was 1 year old.

“Family tradition,” she said of the reason she attends every year.

Lifting the visor from a baby stroller, she added: “Now, it’s even more special, because we have this little guy.”

Sun News staff writer Christina M. Wright contributed to this report. Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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