Christmas parade brings season’s cheer to Macon

The Middle Georgia Christmas Parade ushered in a round of the season’s cheer Sunday with its marching bands, colorful floats, loud and bright police, fire and emergency vehicles, beauty queens, waves of candy tosses and, of course, Santa.

Skyla Talton of Macon was among hundreds who lined the streets of downtown Macon. She said she has been coming to the parade since she was a little girl. She was keeping a watchful eye on 7-year-old daughter Brooklynn, who sat as close to the parade as she possibly could.

“Waiting for Santa Claus,” Talton said of her favorite part of the parade, “the beautiful floats and catching the candy.”

The Jones County Fire Department’s float, featuring a green and red locomotive, a Ferris wheel for teddy bears and white Christmas trees, drew some cheers as it moved along the parade route. Tunes from “I Saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus” to “Joy to the World” filled the air as bands marched by.

John Werkheiser of Perry, camera in hand, was set up in a good spot at the corner of Third and Cherry streets to capture that perfect shot of his 2-year-old daughter, Holly.

Wearing a red pantsuit and a crown, the apple of this father’s eye was among the numerous Middle Georgia pageant winners who rode on floats, in fancy, shiny cars and even a horse-drawn carriage

“I’m just a pageant dad,” Werkheiser said with a grin.

The family enjoys the pageant competitions and events such as the parade, and in the future, the pageants could lead to scholarships, Werkheiser said.

Tedra Smith seemed a bit out of place in the parade as she walked in everyday clothes, pushing her little girl in a stroller and holding the hand of a friend’s small child.

But Smith, who was ahead of a float for “An Urban Nutcracker” ballet, planned it that way. She said she was walking to promote the classical/jazz/hip-hop production at the Douglass Theatre next weekend as a family event. The all youth cast is directed by Krystal Cox of Krystal’s Creative Kids.

Kenneth Cox, the director’s dad, was among the throng of folks lining the parade route. He’d also been snapping photos.

“I’m proud of her,” he said. “She decided ‘this is what I wanted’ and she has done it for four years.”

The M.A. Evans School Band won a rousing round of applause when its young baton twirlers dressed in white sweatsuits and Santa hats got down, as the drum and cymbals core strutted its stuff.

Don Feibelman of Macon took in the parade resting on a bench along Cherry Street. He brought along the family pet, Rosco, a Parson Russell terrier. The dog sported a red Christmas shirt that read, “Go ahead and put me on your naughty list.”

Traci Brown, who owns Creme de la Creme Ice Cream Shoppe on Cherry Street, is normally closed Sundays but opened for the parade.

“It was a good day,” said Brown, who had a steady stream of customers.

Ash Street Church of God sported a “Jesus is the reason for the season” banner on one of its vehicles in the parade.

The parade also featured junior ROTC groups, a Brownie Girl Scouts troop, and Geico’s reptilian mascot, a gecko lizard. There were also plenty of classic cars and motorcycles in the parade mix.

Four-year-old Jaqavion hid behind his mom, Nicole Keen, when a souped-up pickup truck leading a group of motorcyclists revved up loudly. Adventurous once more, now that the loud noise had passed, the boy ventured toward a man in the parade handing out presents. His bravery won him a new toy truck.

His mom said she’s been coming to the Christmas parade since she was a child.

“It brings in the Christmas spirit,” said Keen of Perry. “If you don’t have it, once you come to a parade, you’ll get into the Christmas spirit.”

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 923-3109, extension 243.