Warm spirits, chilly air at parade
Daily Times, The

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SALISBURY -- A frigid, overcast day didn't keep crowds away from Salisbury's 64th annual Christmas Parade. Organized by the Jaycees since 1947, the Salisbury Christmas Parade is a city tradition. Attracting classic cars, marching bands and floats from all over the Lower Shore, this year's parade, "Sand and Snow Spectacular," had more than 87 entries including a truck from the Powellville Volunteer Fire Company that had to leave early on a call for service.

"I've got a little girl in the Bennett Middle Marching Band and a son in Bennett High's that I came to see," said County Executive Rick Pollitt. "I've come to this parade since when I was a little boy, and it always draws a real good crowd. Unless it's raining, people show up."

Angela Kuzman has served as the Jaycees Christmas Parade chairwoman for the past three years. She said this year's parade had quite a good turnout considering the cold. Last year's parade had relatively warm weather, but two years ago, she said there was practically a blizzard.

As usual, guest judges from media outlets and businesses tallied up scores to give out awards, including best float. Like many of the judges, Allen Norfolk of Sherwood Kia of Salisbury said his favorite was Eastern Correctional Institution's festive entry mounted on the back of an ECI utility truck.

Built by inmates at the prison, the Christmas float featured a moving Ferris wheel and cartoon characters that sing and blow bubbles.

Participating marching bands also received scores from a national judges association for their performance in the parade, Kuzman said. Though they weren't competing against each other, she said, they would use the scores to improve later performances.

While the marching band students would have to make it from the parade's beginning at the intersection of Mount Hermon Road and Civic Avenue to its end at East Main and Ward streets before warming up, the audience was more fortunate as they piled in the back of pickup trucks and huddled under blankets.

Located right on the parade's East Main Street route, Bible Baptist Church took the opportunity to hand out pamphlets and free hot chocolate.

"We're fortunate that we get so many people from the community coming right by the church," said Rosalyn Patteson, a member of the Bible Baptist congregation.

She said this was the second year the church had distributed free hot chocolate at the event.

Kuzman said this year's parade was only one of several holiday events sponsored by the Jaycees. She said on Saturday, the group will host the annual Christmas Shopping Tour at Walmart in which disadvantaged children selected by schools are given money to use for holiday gift shopping.