Parade draws merry, makes town bright

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It may not have felt like Christmas, but it certainly looked like it as the annual Ironton Christmas Parade rolled through downtown Monday.

The balmy temperatures may have helped draw a larger than usual crowd, Lions Club member Lou Pyles said.

&#8220I think the weather was good and people didn't mind coming out. You could throw on a jacket. I wasn't cold,” she said.

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&#8220I am so pleased.”

The Fraley family of Ironton were among those who showed up in summer clothes to see Santa Claus pass by in full winter gear. What brought them out,

besides seeing their daughter, 12-year-old Autumn Reaper, march with the Yvonne DeKay School of Dance?

&#8220I just like the atmosphere, the excitement of Christmas coming,” father Marty Fraley said.

&#8220I just like getting to see all the local people,” mother Lisa Fraley said. Autumn liked marching in the parade; nine-year-old Cody liked the high school marching bands.

The parade brought kudos to three local entities that picked up awards for best floats. The &#8220jingle bell” award went to Bible Apostolic Church of Huntington, W.Va.

The church's snowy float titled &#8220One Horse Open Sleigh” was made to resemble an old sleigh and was pulled by an actual horse.

&#8220We've had floats in the parade here for three years but this is the first time we've won an award,” congregation member Brenda Munson said. The church also won an award in the Ashland, Ky., Christmas parade last week.

It was a case of beginner's luck for both the winner of the &#8220snowflake” award and the winner of the &#8220Santa” award.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart chapter 765 took home the &#8220snowflake” award for its float &#8220The Greatest Story Ever Told,” which featured a manger scene.

Both winners had never entered floats in the parade until this year.

&#8220I was surprised when they said we'd won,” Purple Heart member Charles Meadows said. &#8220I thought I had put down (on the entry form) that we had a truck in the parade. Then the lady came over and saw our float and said we'd won an award. I tell you I was surprised.”

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital's baby pink float got the &#8220Santa” award. The homey fireside scene and white tree decorated in pink was more than a feminine spin on the holidays. It was meant to draw attention to breast cancer awareness.

&#8220We had wanted to actually promote a service we already have existing,” Susie Klaiber, OLBH representative, said. &#8220In September we had our &#8220Paint the Town Pink” gala and we followed that with this women's health float.”

The procession moved past numerous parking meters that have been decked out for the season in holiday creations, a joint effort by the Ironton Cooperative Club and the Ironton Business Association.

The highlight of the evening was a visit by Santa, who, with no snow under his feet, traded in his sleigh for a fiery red convertible.

Attention now moves to Coal Grove and its first-ever Christmas Parade Friday evening, just before the lights are turned on at Paul Porter Park.