Jacksonville Daily Progress
There were numerous cold weather coats and lots of kiddos wrapped in blankets this year, but the Christmas bliss was the same as hundreds of happy children and smiling families gathered along Commerce and Patton streets on Thursday evening to see the 2013 Jacksonville Christmas Parade.
Many said it seemed to be colder and darker than the year before. But the parade still embodied the same spirit of Christmas cheer and friendliness for those in attendance.
"Pretty good parade, ain't it?" Shelley “Shamrock” Cleaver asked earnestly from the sidelines.
Hot chocolate and popcorn were premiums at the Thursday parade, as the increasingly popular Jacksonville Joe's stand was there to serve those wanting to warm up with a drink. Representatives of the Jacksonville High School Fightin' Indian Band Booster Club were also dispensing popcorn for hungry tummies.
For Jacksonville Joe's owner Larry Frisinger, it was difficult to immediately determine how many drinks he had actually sold to the huge crowd. There were at least 20 customers but … a cursory glance at the size crowd coming to his stand over the evening seemed to indicate far more than that.
"It's kind of like asking Willie Wonka how many chocolate bars he ate," Frisinger said with a twinkle in his eye. "Most of the time the only answer you're going to be able to get is 'one.' "
Light-up toys were in great demand at the parade as multiple vendors worked the crowd for sales. The vendors indicated they were staying very busy.
The route began on Commerce Street at the intersection of Patton Street,
continued on Commerce Street, turning left on Austin Street at the Tomato Bowl, and turned left again on Wilson Street behind the Norman Activity Center. It then continued on Wilson Street, turning left one last time on Bonner Street.
The families there were certainly seemed happy. Vernon and Benita Anderson for instance, were there with a passel of children and grandchildren, six of them total, enjoying it as they have for the past six years.
Rhonda Knight was also there with children and grandchildren. She was astounded she managed to park so closely to the parade and get such a good spot along the route — under the bridge.
"LOTS of people here," she said with a smile.