By Kay Whatley
The Zebulon Christmas Parade made its way through downtown and along Gannon Avenue on Sunday, December 3, 2017. This year’s parade mixed tractors with floats, marching bands, dancers, classic cars, and trucks emblazoned with business ads. Watching the parade go by, listening to Christmas music blaring from the floats, and interacting with the thousands lining the streets made for an interesting afternoon.
The day turned out to be sunny and warm — a change from the cooler weather during Saturday’s downtown vendor event. On Sunday, coats were optional, with most people walking around in short sleeves — although a few on the shaded side of the street covered with blankets.
One advantage to attending small town parades is the easy parking. Arrive a little bit in advance of the parade and find a parking spot in just a few minutes. Then, take the short walk from parking lot to parade route. Some early arrivers were parked by the road, rear hatches open, ready to watch the parade from their vehicles. The streets were lined more than 30 minutes before the parade start time.
While waiting for the parade to start, watching the crowd helped to pass the time. Parents debated with their kids about having to go to the bathroom. Children excitedly talked about Santa Claus. Adults moved the police department’s traffic cones around, saving parking spaces for their late-coming friends. A father and daughter walked around in matching t-shirts, laughing. Smokers congregating on the crowd’s edges, stepping back from the lines of chairs. A few pet owners walked dogs along the sidewalk, stopping occasionally so others could ooh and aah at the adorable puppies. The mood was upbeat.
The parade started downtown around 2pm. Along a side street near Compare Foods, teens tossed a frisbee around until the parade made its way up Gannon. It took close to 25 minutes for the front of the parade to arrive, and everyone clustered along the road to watch it.
The final float carrying Santa Claus arrived by Compare Foods around 3pm. Children who had been tired and asking to leave a short time before ran to the road to see Santa go by. Energized, the children jumped and yelled “Santa! Santa!”It was a delightful end to the afternoon’s parade.