Fort Deposit Christmas parade a hit
By Regina Grayson
Fort Deposit’s first Christmas parade since the 1960s was a huge success, according to Dan Therrien, parade organizer.
With 35 entries and more than 100 participants, the parade, which began at Lowndes Middle School and ended in the center of town, lasted for approximately an hour. WAKA-TV anchor/reporter Ashley Paige served as the parade’s grand marshal and commentator.
As the overcast Saturday afternoon grew colder, the colorful floats and decorated cars made their way down Old Fort Road, then turned onto South Pollard Street and ended on Jones Street, passing Randy’s Wrecker Service before heading to the Fort Deposit Municipal Complex for the post-parade activities.
Parade participants included Fort Deposit Police Chief Ben Turner, Fort Deposit Mayor Fletcher Fountain, Wysteria Cottage, Randy’s Wrecker Service along with Alabama Power and Louis the Lightning Bug.
The Calhoun High School JROTC Color Guard and JROTC led the parade behind Chief Turner.
Central High School’s marching drum line stopped and entertained the crowd. Calhoun High School’s band also performed for the crowd. Ren Heartsill and his tractor provided shuttle services throughout the afternoon’s activities, while representing Tracey and Jay’s Home Cooking Restaurant. William Holloway and his 1928 Model A Ford showed off for the crowd, while Bob Smith’s 1949 DC Case tractor rolled down the street, representing the Southern Antique Iron Club. The Lowndes County Riding Club led the way for Santa Claus at the end. Parade-watchers also enjoyed the treats that parade participants threw to them as they passed by.
After the parade, everyone assembled at City Hall where Jimmy Glenn and Megan Jeffery each sang for the crowd. WAKA-TV anchor/reporter Ashley Paige asked all of the children to gather in front of the stage while she sang Christmas songs, including “Santa Claus is coming to Town.”
Mayor Fletcher Fountain greeted the crowd and thanked everyone for coming out and making the parade such a success.
“Fort Deposit is a great place to be, isn’t it?” Fountain said.
At approximately 5 p.m., the mayor lit the official Christmas tree as the crowd applauded.
The Bethlehem Christian Church Mass Choir performed Christmas carols for everyone, including “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”
Dan Therrien, parade organizer, and Paige presented the float awards from the Christmas parade. Fort Deposit Head Start was awarded the first place prize, with Camellia Communications receiving second place and Macedonia Baptist Church taking third place.
Children had their pictures made with Santa Claus, with all of the proceeds from the photos and from the refreshments going to the Department of Human Resources to help area residents.
Pastor Benny Stanford and the Bethlehem Christian Church of Fort Deposit were recently recognized by Gov. Bob Riley for the charitable assistance they have given to thousands of people. Pastor Stanford was on hand to offer the closing prayer for the Fort Deposit Christmas parade’s festivities.
“I want to thank everyone who participated in the parade, all of those who came to watch, and I appreciate all of the volunteers whose support made this event the success that it was,” Therrien said.
Therrien also wanted to thank Jack Jones for providing the flatbeds for the reviewing stand and stage, Doyle and Shirley Sasser and Joe and Roni Winningham for decorating the two stages, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Jimmy Glenn, who provided the use of their sound systems. Special thanks also go to Coca Cola for providing the banners and drinks, Priester’s Pecans for providing power to the reviewing stand and to Bethel Baptist Church for providing the chairs in front of the stage.
Timberline Homes offered the steps to the reviewing stand and to the stage. Special thanks also go to Wal-Mart and Bill’s Dollar Store for donating candy. Randy’s Wrecker Service provided the trophies for the float winners in the parade.
“Of course, I especially appreciate Jimmy Glenn, Megan Jeffery, the Bethlehem Christian Church Mass Choir and Ashley Paige for giving outstanding performances for the crowd,” Therrien said.
“This was a true sign of community spirit and the Christmas spirit all coming together,” he said. “I feel truly blessed to be a part of such a caring community which truly extends beyond the city limits. I’m already looking forward to next year’s parade, which is planned for Dec. 9, 2006.”