BY TOM YANCEY
Several thousand people braved cold weather and the threat of snow -- which briefly materialized -- for the 34th annual Bulls Gap Christmas Parade.
As it always does , the Bulls Gap Christmas parade had plenty of candy, children, smiles and fire trucks competing for who coulc be loudest and throw the most candy.
Though the parade seldom lasted no more than 20 minutes, it seemed full of fun.
The parade featured several floats, some elaborate, and some just labors of love by one family or small group.
The parade started at Bulls Gap Elementary School, came down the hill and up again and turned right on state Route 66. At the intersection of U.S. Highway 11E, the parade turned right and proceeded along the highway to St. Clair Road, where it turned right again and returned to the school.
The Cherokee High School Marching Chiefs Band followed Sheriff Ronnie Lawson, led by a cute drum major who looked like a Christmas elf.
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were on hand, riding on a float that looked like a reindeer barn, being almost as red as their suits.
Near the end of the parade, Mayor Grubb said, "It started snowing really hard," though briefly, which helped usher in the Christmas spirit.
The first-place winner among the floats was that of Lee Valley Church. The float depicted Jesus waking on the water to the boat where where his disciples were waiting.
Mayor Bill Grubb said members of the Bulls Gap Volunteer Fire Department served as the grand marshals of the parade in honor of their dedicated service to the town and nearby area.
The firefighters should have led the parade, he said, but chose instead to bring up the rear, as is traditional, along with fire departments from many communities in Hawkins County and eastern Hamblen County.
The parade was sponsored by the town of Bulls Gap government, and was organized by Alderman Charles Johnson, who could not be present because he had to work as a dispatcher at the Hawkins County Sheriff's Department, and by former Alderman Pete Shipley.
AM /dfterwards, Mayor Grubb said they did a fine job, and everything went smoothly.