WARNER ROBINS -- Sharon Hancock arrived an hour early Saturday for the 2011 Warner Robins Christmas Parade to ensure her girls had cozy, warm seats with a good view.
Hancock, of Warner Robins, backed her minivan into a parking space in front of Houston Medical Center and opened the hatchback. Her girls, Haven, 7, and Rylee, 10, nestled in the back with sleeping bags and pillows, had a front-row seat of the parade as it passed down Watson Boulevard in front of the hospital.
The girls were not disappointed. The parade included marching bands, beauty queens, cheerleaders, funny cars and all sorts of colorful floats, including a live nativity scene in which children played the parts. Similar parades also were held Saturday in Perry, Byron and Fort Valley.
“I saw some of my best friends,” said Haven when asked about her favorite part of the parade. Her friends were in the float for Perdue Primary where she attends school.
Khammica Wiliams, 30, of Bonaire, also arrived early for the 10 a.m. parade start, but by mistake. But she said the error proved to work out for her good as she and her family had the “perfect seat” along the curb.
Williams, who was there with her son, daughter, mother and cousins, watched the parade from a collapsible chair, while the children sat on the curb.
“It’s a real nice outing,” Wiliams said. “It brings all the people together.”
Williams said she and her family have been coming to the parade for at least 10 years. She also had several family members in the parade.
Lisa Joiner, who was sitting with Williams, said her favorite float was from Shirley Hills Elementary. But she admitted she might be a little biased because her son Brenton, 11, was a member of a jump-rope team featured on the float.
Kip Gellins of Bonaire offered his 3-year-old grandson Ryan a birds-eye view of the parade. Ryan was perched atop his shoulders.
“It’s fun,” Gellins said of his 14-years coming out for the parade. “It’s a part of Christmas.”
Gellins said his favorite part of the parade were the marching bands playing Christmas music.
John and Julie Gravgaard of Kathleen were filming their daughter, Madison, 16, who plays the flute, as she marched by with Houston County High School’s band.
John Gravgaard said the parade gave band members a chance to show off all their hard work. Julie Gravgaard added that marching bands and Christmas parades are a tradition.
Debra Stephens, 58, of Centerville, was sporting a red elf hat as she watched the parade.
“I like to see Santa Claus,” said Stephens with a laugh.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.