Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

NEIGHBORS >> Christmas on Main Street

Cabot, Beebe and Ward hold weekend parades

Crowds surely got into the holiday spirit over the weekend as area communities held Christmas pa-rades Saturday and Sunday. Organizers of each were happy with the crowds, number of entrants and overall atmosphere.

It was beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas Sunday afternoon as Cabot residents bundled up to brave temperatures in the mid-40s for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and parade.

The parade’s theme was “A Storybook Christmas” and more than 68 entries provided two-hours worth of holiday spirit for both young and old.

“We live about two blocks away from here, so it was easy to walk,” said Lindsey Ingram, who was standing on the corner of West Main and South Second streets with her husband, Matt, and their children Elijah, 6 and Matthew, 4.

“We moved to Cabot about a year-and-a-half ago so this is our first parade. We’re enjoying the parade so far, it’s quaint,” Lindsey Ingram said.

Ann Pummill, a dispatcher with the Cabot Police Department for the past 23 years, and Lewis Cimino, the newest member of the Cabot Fire Department, representing Cabot’s first responders, were the grand marshals for the parade.

“Staging the parade from the Home Depot parking lot area worked beautifully,” said Sue Wagner of Cabot City Beautiful.
The Cabot Advertising and Promotions Commission, Cabot Parks and Recreation Department and Cabot City Beautiful were sponsors for the holiday tradition.

“I think the cold weather kept a lot of people away,” Wagner said.
“At one point, a float stopped and caused a lag between the rest of the floats.”
After the parade, volunteers worked for about an hour, turning a stage to face the Price Cutter food store at 801 W. Main.
Cabot High School’s ninth-grade band, Lisa’s Dance Studio, Celina Miranda, Living Waters Church children’s choir and the gospel group, By His Grace, provided holiday entertainment at the tree lighting.

Parade awards were presented during the tree-lighting ceremony. The award for best animal/equestrian entry was presented to Heavenly Hounds, an organization where people and their dogs visit nursing homes and hospitals to provide therapy to patients.
Other award winners included:
• Best business entry: Lisa’s Dance Studio
• Best church entry: The Worship Center
• Best civic/school entry: Cabot Garden Club
• Best general entry: Rebsamen Medical Center
• Mayor’s choice: New Life Church
Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh and Liz Massey of KTHV, Channel 11 were emcees for the event and led the crowd in singing Christmas carols before throwing the switch to light Cabot’s Christmas tree, a 40-foot cedar donated by C. M. Gordon.

A lack of participation has plagued Beebe’s lighted Christmas parade in recent years, but not this year.
Organizers are calling Saturday night’s parade their best so far with 35 entries and a large crowd lined up along the parade route from Badger Drive to the downtown area and back.

The winners were chosen by judges from Cabot and Searcy who ranked their top three overall favorites and also the best in each of the four categories: religious, civic, commercial and educational.

Beavers Dental Clinic came in first overall and won the commercial category for their portrayal of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on the Island of Misfit Toys from the classic Christmas cartoon. Their float was complete with all the characters including a furry white Bumble and the lion king who reigned there.
Other award winners included:
• Second place: Williams’ Chiropractic Clinic
• Third place: First Baptist Church youth ministry
• Civic group: Beebe Fire Department
• Education group: Arkansas State University-Beebe

Balmy, un-Christmaslike temperatures in the upper 70s didn’t keep the crowds, or Santa Claus, away from Ward’s Christmas parade and tree-lighting ceremony Saturday afternoon.

There were 17 entries in the mile-long parade route that started on Hwy. 367, went down Hickory Street and ended at the Ward City Complex.

Rep. Bobby Glover, Ward Mayor Art Brooke, city employees and Carla’s Dance Co. were among those participating in the parade. The grand marshal of the parade was Liz Massey, of KTHV, Channel 11. The Grand Marshal’s Choice Award went to Cub Scout Pack 328 and Boy Scout Troop 999’s float depicting the nativity scene.
Other awards presented included:
• First place: Ward utilities
• Second place: Team Ward
• Third place: Cornerstone Assembly Church
The Ward Library held an open house in conjunction with the parade and tree-lighting ceremony.
“I thought the people enjoyed it,” said Joann Brooke, parade organizer.
“The only complaint I heard was that it started late.”