Holiday Spirit on Parade

Our little tourist town has started having a Christmas parade to kick off the holiday season. It has only happened a couple years now but already it is becoming a well-attended community event.
This year the parade was held on an unseasonably warm evening. Though we couldn't have a Christmasy snowfall, we were all thankful that it wasn't raining.

We have found we like the Christmas parade much, much more than the annual July 4th parade which has turned into a procession of cars advertising their businesses. No floats or marching bands at that summertime parade, just classic cars, delivery trucks, fire engines and a few horses ridden by local vaqueros.

The Christmas parade on the other hand is much more colorful and creative.

Businesses sponsor actual floats that take time and imagination to execute, rather than just slapping a poster board sign and some crepe paper onto their company car.

This year's parade even had a surfing basset hound. Not sure what that has to do with Christmas but....cute anyway.

Following the parade, everyone assembled on what our town considers its town square- the intersection of State and 2nd streets where the water fountain and landscaping can accommodate a large Christmas tree. Vendors gave away free hot cocoa and cookies. Free hot apple cider was provided by the local orchard juice company. After a countdown by the crowd the tree was lit and the Christmas season officially began. (Someone alert the department stores.)

The crowd then drifted down to the other end of the block (Oak and 2nd streets) where professional musicians led the singing of Christmas songs.

My favorite part of the evening was when some thoughtful group of citizens sent about twenty of these lovely flame-lit lanterns floating into the night sky.

Does your community have any special events like this that bring a whole town together in an old-fashioned way for fun and fellowship?