In Annual Parade
Pave The Way For
Santa's Big Finale
BY LISA WARREN
Bright, sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures set the stage for the 2012 Greeneville Christmas Parade on Sunday afternoon in the downtown Historic District.
Thousands of spectators, many comfortably dressed in short-sleeves and sunglasses, lined Bohannon Avenue and Main, McKee and College streets to witness the annual holiday parade spectacle, which took more than an hour-and-a-half to pass them by.
"It was fantastic! Everyone was in good spirits, and the beautiful weather was such a gift this year," said Vickie Andrew, vice president of the Greene County Partnership.
With more than 200 entries, Andrew said it was one of the largest parades in her memory for downtown Greeneville.
The grand marshal of this year's parade was 2012 NHRA world drag racing champion Allen Johnson, of Greeneville, and his Mopar-powered Pro Stock car.
Johnson and the J&J Racing Team, which includes his father, Roy "Rooster" Johnson, were recently crowned the 2012 NHRA Drag Racing Series Pro Stock World Champions.
Allen Johnson waved to those along the parade route, many of whom showed their support by clapping enthusiastically for the racing champ and his accomplishment.
More than 200 entries, including 16 judged floats, made up this year's parade.
The annual Christmas parade is a project of the Greene County Partnership and is coordinated by the Breakfast and Noon Exchange Clubs of Greeneville.
On behalf of the Partnership, Andrew said she also wanted to thank the Exchange Clubs, the local police department and the Town of Greeneville street department for all of their assistance with this annual commmunity event.
PLENTY OF MUSIC
Seven marching bands were featured, including ones from Greeneville, Chuckey-Doak, North Greene, South Greene and West Greene high schools as well as Greeneville Middle School and Tusculum College, each bringing festive sounds of the season to the downtown area.
The annual parade also featured a variety of beauty queens, elected officials, emergency vehicles, cheerleaders, athletic teams, Scout troops, churches, businesses and civic organizations.
New to this year's parade were about 15 Volkswagens from the Northeast Tennessee VW Association.
GRAND FINALE -- SANTA!
But perhaps the most highly anticipated parade participant -- especially for the youngsters lining the route -- was Santa Claus himself, who came rolling through downtown Greeneville at the conclusion of the parade.
It wasn't Santa's sleigh and team of reindeer transporting him on this trip, though, but one of the shiny red Greeneville Fire Department vehicles.
The jolly ol' elf seemed to be having a wonderful time, waving and tossing candy into the crowd.
Floats in the Christmas parade were judged in three categories: church, commercial, and civic group/school.
The winning floats in this year's Christmas parade were:
* Church division -- First place, Calvary Baptist Church; second place, Union Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, and third place, Whittenburg United Methodist Church.
* Civic/school division -- First place, Chuckey-Doak High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) Club; second place, Big Spring Master Gardeners Association, and third place, North Greene High School FFA Club.
* Commercial division -- First place, Long View Ranch Christian Camp and Retreat; second place, Andrew Johnson Bank, and third place, ADC Dance Company.