Rain Stays Away So Crowd Can Enjoy Greeneville Parade
BY SARAH R. GREGORY
Organizers and spectators alike were relieved when predicted rain showers held off to allow everyone involved to enjoy the 2013 Greeneville Christmas Parade, which made its way along a slightly different route through the Historic District this year.
The procession included 177 entries, featuring bands from both local school systems and Tusculum College, local churches, civic organizations, schools, public officials and businesses.
This year's theme was "The 12 Days of Christmas" and many of the floats involved were decorated to match the theme.
PARADE FIRST, RAIN LATER
Temperatures stayed in the mid-40s, but winds were calm and rain showers held off until approximately 30 minutes after the parade concluded.
Thousands enjoyed the hour-and-a-half-long parade, and crowds had just dispersed from the downtown area when rain showers began just after 4 p.m.
Crowds gathered on sidewalks downtown were dressed in winter coats and hats, and many families watched from portable chairs, covered with blankets.
Vicki Andrew, vice-president of the Greene County Partnership, said the threat of rain showers and organizing for an altered route were challenges leading up to the event, but the end result was worth the effort.
Andrew said that only a couple entries canceled due to concerns about the weather.
"It only sprinkled once," she said. "We had a really good show, I think. Everybody was in the holiday spirit. You couldn't walk through the crowd without hearing people telling each other 'Merry Christmas!'"
A COORDINATED EFFORT
The event is a project of the Greene County Parnership and is coordinated by the Breakfast and Noon Exchange Clubs of Greeneville and the Partnership staff.
Andrew said the annual event is truly "a team effort" and would not be possible without the help of the Town of Greeneville's Police, Fire and Public Works departments.
"They're there for anything we need," she said.
Greeneville police played an essential role in directing traffic around the downtown area as the parade stepped off from Bohannon Avenue and turned onto North Main Street to make its way through the town's Historic District.
At the end, at the curve in front of the Crescent office complex, police directed some parade participants to the left, while most vehicle entries dispersed to the right to rejoin normal traffic flow on West Main Street.
Parade Grand Marshals this year were Miss Greene County Hannah Bobinger and Miss Greater Greeneville Sarah Stokely.
Numerous floats, decorated vehicles and walkers dressed in festive gear greeted onlookers, waving, smiling and sharing Christmas wishes.
Various pageant queens, elected officials, athletic teams, Scout troops, dancers, baton-twirlers and others marched between local schools' bands, who performed Christmas songs.
Traditional treats of bubble gum, Tootsie Rolls, lollipops and more were passed out to youngsters and their families watching from sidewalks.
As is customary, the parade's grand finale was none other than Santa Claus himself, who greeted children from atop a Greeneville Fire Department truck.
Prior to departing from the staging area, floats in the parade were judged in three categories: church, commercial and civic groups/schools.
Winners, judged on overall appearance, were:
* Church Division -- First place, Calvary Baptist Church; second place, U-Turn For Christ; third place, Whittenburg United Methodist Church.
* Civic/School Division -- First place, McDonald Elementary School Booster Club, and no other entrants.
* Commercial Division -- First place, Winter & Company Dance Studio; second place, ADC Dance Company; and third place, Food City.