Parades usher in the holiday season

Thursday, December 10, 2009
Lighted float takes first place Democrat Photo The Cassville United Methodist Church's float "God's Perfect Light" won first place in the religious float division at the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Christmas parade on Dec. 5. The parade offered several lighted holiday units.

On Saturday, hundreds of local residents ushered in the holiday season by attending annual Christmas parades in Cassville and Exeter. Families braved seasonably cold weather to line downtown streets for the festive events.

Holiday spirit drew many area residents to downtown Cassville for the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Christmas parade Saturday night.

"Overall, I was very pleased with the parade," said Mindi Artherton, Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. "I was glad to see so many community members come out to support the businesses and organizations that had worked so hard putting together the entries."

Most community members seemed to approve of the new parade route, which ran along Main Street from Cassville High School to Pizza Hut.

"As far as setting up, the new route helped things go a lot smoother," said Artherton. "We had a lot more room to get the units lined up and the trailers in and out of the parking area.

"Justin Gates and Mark Kelley were a huge help with the line up," said Artherton. "Right now, we plan to use the same route next year. We think people will begin to get used to it and spread out along Main Street more. We have heard mostly positive feedback from the community regarding the change."

This year, the Cassville United Methodist Chuch's God's Perfect Light float took home the top prize in the religious division. St. John's Hospital-Cassville's abominable snowman earned first place in the commercial division, and the Cassville High School FFA Express claimed the top prize in the non-religious division.

Other Cassville Christmas parade winners included: religious, Blessing Heights Worship Center, second place, and Corinth Baptist Church, third place; non-religious, Cassville Lions Club, second place, and Northwest Arkansas Association Corvette Club, third place; commercial, Jimmy's Pre-Owned, second place, and Varner's Quick Stop, third place; marching bands, Southwest High School, first place, and Purdy High School, second place; horses, Back to Nature, first place, Edgar Shriner, second place, and Norma's In-Line Fashion, third place; best-decorated vehicle, Brice Stehlik, tow truck; oldest vehicle, Daniel and Jennifer Pendergraft, 1923 T Bucket; and most unusual vehicle, Ryan Newman, demolition derby car.

The Cassville High School Wildcat marching band served as the host band for the parade and was not eligible for prizes or awards.

For more information on the Cassville Christmas parade, call Artherton at 847-2814.

Exeter Christmas parade

Area residents also braved blustering winds to attend Exeter's annual Christmas parade on Saturday. The procession was led by Exeter Lady Tigers 2009 state championship basketball team members, who served as this year's grand marshals.

"The Exeter parade went off without a hitch with around 132 entries," said Flo Ennis, who helped coordinate this year's event. "We had a good variety of entries, and there was a big crowd to watch, which we really appreciated."

Exeter's City Choice Award was presented to the Southwest High School marching band, which performed a holiday melody during the event.

Other Exeter parade winners were: religious, Victory Baptist Church, first place, and Exeter Assembly of God Church, second place; non-religious, Barry Electric, first place, and Brice's Towing, second place; oldest vehicles, John Embrey, first place, and Donnie Cooper, second place; best decorated vehicle, Hilsden Moseley, first place, and Trey Sturgell, second place; most unusual vehicle, Harry Stephens, first place; antique tractors, Higgs Farms, first place, and Harry Stephens, second place; best presentation horses, Back with Nature, first place, and Edgar Schriener, second place; best of show horses, C.J. Reed, first place, and Dakota Brown, second place; musical bands, Southwest High School, first place, and Wheaton High School, second place; and non-musical groups, Showstopper Stars, first place, and the Exeter High School cheerleaders, second place.

"Santa landed his sleigh just in time to hop on the fire truck and hand out treats after the parade," said Ennis. "The fire department was a big help this year, driving stakes, bagging candy, lining up the parade and directing traffic."

Ennis also expressed gratitude to the City of Exeter employees and the volunteer judges for assisting with the parade.

For more information, call Ennis at 835-8861.

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