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Christmas Parade spreads cheer across town
Parade - softball players.jpg
Members of the Warren County High School softball team are in the Christmas spirit as they wave to bystanders on the parade route. Pictured, from left, are Marli McBride, Bella Pennington, Aleya Esparza and Dallis Melton. The float finished third in the school-sponsored category.

The warm temperatures didn’t have anyone dashing through the snow, but holiday cheer was still hung by the chimney with care during McMinnville’s annual Christmas Parade on Saturday.

Children were adorned with reindeer antlers and there were scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ during a festive parade that had 70 entries and made its way down Main Street in 32 minutes.

“I really enjoyed planning it and I’m really, really happy with how it turned out,” said Michael Benusches, recreation program coordinator for McMinnville Parks and Recreation. “A lot of people have been cooped up and we didn’t have a parade last year so I think it served to make this one even more special.”

Pioneer Community Church had one of the more unique entries with a live band playing holiday music from its float. The band played a rotation of “Silent Night,” “Mary Did You Know?” and “Oh Holy Night.”

“It was our regular praise team and we play at least twice a week anyway, but we really put in a lot of practice for the parade,” said singer Sean Fletcher. “It was the first time we’ve done this for the parade and our sound guy, Mike Hearn, was able to control everything with his iPad. We enjoyed the crowd and the crowd was clapping, dancing and getting into the music.”

So what was different about performing during a parade?

“There was a lot of stopping, starting and jerking, but we were able to keep our balance,” said Fletcher.

The Southern Standard had an entry in the parade for the first time in several years. Standard employees placed two newspaper racks on the float that proclaimed “Santa is coming!” as the headline story. Bonnie Bear even came out of hibernation to make an appearance on the float.

“I was surprised how many kids were yelling and waving at Bonnie,” said reporter Sheila Fann, who donned the bear outfit. “It seems like there was a lot of happiness and a lot of people having fun.”

The WCMS cheerleaders won the People’s Choice Award and also first place in the School Sponsored category for their float with the theme, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

Montgomery’s had a float depicting characters from the movie “Christmas Vacation” that won first in the Business category.