GREENVILLE — Thousands of hardy souls braved temperatures in the teens to catch a glimpse of St. Nick in this year’s Hometown Christmas Parade. Fans of Father Christmas began lining the streets along the downtown parade route an hour or more before the event’s 6 p.m. start time.
Turnout also was good with regard to the number of entries in this year’s parade. In addition to police and firefighter vehicles, there were floats from several area businesses and service groups, music provided by the Greenville High School marching band, young dancers and jugglers, several candy-tossing elves, the Danish Festival Queen and Court, and of course the star of the parade himself, Santa Claus.
Sponsored by the city for more than 20 years, the parade officially kicks off the Christmas season downtown; most merchants were open during and after the parade.
A Santa Park Party, sponsored by Chemical Bank, was held just prior to the parade at Lafayette Park. There, Santa visited with children and personally took their Christmas list requests. Much-needed (considering the weather) hot cocoa and cookies were provided the Haan’s Bakery & Coffee Shoppe.
Just before the parade, Santa oversaw the tree lighting ceremony at the park.
The parade was sponsored this year by Isabella Bank.
Following the parade, Santa met with his fans at a meet and greet at the Flat River Museum.