Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

December 10, 2012

Extraordinary turnout for 2012 Christmas parade

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — You could practically feel the happy Yuletide vibes in the air, as smiling children and happy families converged along Commerce and Patton streets Thursday night to see the lineup depart for the 2012 Jacksonville Christmas Parade.

There were hundreds of children, all visibly enchanted about the proximity of Christmas. They all were creating for their families the happiness embodied in Jacksonville's parade theme title: "Christmas Memories."

It was a very festive and friendly affair. No one was a stranger along Commerce and Patton streets as Jacksonville residents gathered en masse to see the parade.

"Are we having fun now?" one female passerby asked a reporter with a friendly laugh. "I can tell by that smile on your face."

Vendors such as Cathy Ticolini, 21, and Marie Gallego, 50, sold cotton candy and light-up swords hand-in-fist to the many audience members lined up along the street.

Ticolini said her proceeds were for a good cause.

"This money goes to buy presents for needy children," she said.

Many public officials, including District 4 Jacksonville Council-woman Ann Chandler, drove vehicles in the parade.

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.

Morgan Washburn, 9, was in very good spirits Thursday night.

She was there on the sidelines with siblings Graham, 3 and Ashton, 4 as well as parents Branson, 37, and Beth, 35.

Morgan was looking forward to seeing a letter she wrote to Santa appear in the local newspaper.

And guess what? Santa wasn't that far away. Jack Scurlock, 71, an Old St. Nick lookalike, was in the parade procession driving Chandler's vehicle.