Ironton#039;s annual Christmas Parade ushers in holidays

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

He wasn't driving his traditional sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, but Santa made his annual stop to the area last night, bringing holiday joy to all good little girls and boys.

The Ironton Lions Club Christmas Parade rolled through downtown last night with floats, marching bands and fire trucks to the delight of thousands lined along the streets.

Santa capped the event off right, riding in a 1955 fiery red Ford Thunderbird convertible driven by Mike Carey, giving Rudolph and his red nose the night off.

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The jolly old elf himself served as this year's Grand Marshal. The honor was quite a gift for the man who gives so much delight to others.

"It means everything for Santa to visit the people of Ironton," Mr. Claus said. "Santa only gets to visit once a year."

There were plenty of youngsters crowding around the man in the plush red suit, naming off the many items on their respective wish lists.

"I asked for something for my dolls, like a new dollhouse," said 5-year-old Kaylee Sheridan of Ironton.

Her friend Sidney went for something a little more hi-tech.

"I asked him for a VideoNow," said 7-year-old Sidney Payne of Ironton.

Both girls said talking to Santa was one of the best things about the parade as they scampered off to join fellow students marching with the Yvonne DeKay School of Dance.

St. Nick took the time to make his simple request before he too dashed out of sight.

"Santa just wishes for peace on earth," he said.

The parade was a time for continuing holiday traditions and beginning new ones. The France family came to see daughters Ashley and Whitney march with Chesapeake High School's band.

"It's wonderful," Cynthia France said. "This is the first year that we've come to see the parade."

Cynthia and Jimmy France's 4-year-old son Adam was excited to see Santa, but he was a little tight-lipped when he got to meet his hero in person, Cynthia said. Older brother J.J. wouldn't sit on Santa's knee, but the 10-year-old did manage to tell Kris Kringle what he wanted for Christmas.

Adam's face lit up when he saw his sisters go by, though.

"Look, there's the marching band!" he said as he pointed a tiny finger.

The parade offered another kind of treat for Symmes Valley Cub Scout Pack 38. Their "Making Memories to Last a Lifetime" float took home the Santa Claus award.

"It's really special," said Bear Den mother Alice Cook. "This is the first year we've ever won and the boys all worked really hard. They're a great group to work with."

While no snow fell Monday night, plenty of Tootsie Rolls, bubble gum and candy canes rained down to the outstretched hands of parade goers. For parade organizer Lou Pyles, seeing the event come together was her sweet reward.

"We just do this for the community to bring joy and the holiday spirit to everyone," Pyles said with a twinkle in her eye. "When you look around, you'll see nothing but smiling faces and we love that."

Photographs of float winners will appear in Wednesday's edition.