Rain doesn#8217;t dampen spirits at Ironton Christmas parade

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2007

It rained on her first parade as Lawrence County Fair princess, but Chelsey Keathley stood gamely in the downpour Monday as she waited to take her place in the lineup at the Ironton Christmas parade.

Tiara-clad head held high, stockings and sandals soaked. Nevertheless, Keathley waited for her cue to go on.

This was the weather parade and a lot of bystanders questioned whether the parade should have gone on or not.

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But it did and the stalwarts in both the lineup and along the downtown route showed their true colors as they huddled under umbrellas or blankets and cheered the marchers on.

An hour before kickoff, it seemed the rain predicted for the evening would hold off. Teens congregated in parking lots waited for instructions from their band leaders. At first, in their shorts and sweats, they made the outing look more like an early fall football game.

But then the heavens

opened and out came the regulation slickers to cover up in. Along the route, umbrellas were perched protectingly over camp chairs as their owners tried to stay dry under doorways. Some, thinking the parade had been canceled, packed up and headed home.

An hour before the parade’s

start Marjorie McKee of South Point Elementary, was putting the school’s chime choir through its paces as the youngsters sat

under fairly clear skies in a shiny red wooden trolley. The plan was to do two songs —- “Joy to the World’’ and “Jingle Bells.’’

But if at any point during the parade they burst into song, the rain drowned them out, unfortunately,

because, as McKee said, “The kids just love to perform.’’

Hailey Browning, 6, and Madison Hale, 9, both on the Girl Scout float for Brownie

Troop 971 and Junior

Troop 698, donned fuzzy reindeer antlers. Hailey had an extra touch of holiday spirit with some red greasepaint on her nose. After all, every holiday parade needs its tribute to ole Rudolph.

“We’re here to support community service and make others aware of the Girl Scouts,’’ said troop leader Crissy Estep.

This was the

5th year for Scott Jones, director of the Rock Hill High Band, to participate in the parade as leader of the band.

“It’s good public relations for our community,’’ he said. “It shows our community pride, shows our support for the Lawrence County community.’’

And it was community pride that seemed to capture the spirit of the parade. Community pride and a chance to show that even during a soggy holiday parade some life lessons like discipline can be taught.

“I’ve marched in rain in my time and I’ve enjoyed it,’’ Jeff Sanders, Ironton High band director, told his group. “I want you to march out there with chins held high.’’

And to a person, everyone in this year’s Christmas parade did.

Winners of the parade were:

4Snowflake Award —- Brownie troops 912, 1269 and 1271;

4Jingle Bell Award —- Time Warner Cable;

4Santa Claus Award —- OUS Activity Band.