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Parade well-attended despite cold

Hundreds of people lined Shotwell Street and thronged downtown Bainbridge to see the 2009 Christmas Parade on Thursday night.

Despite the cold weather, with temperatures in the 40 degrees by the time the parade started, many people enjoyed one of Bainbridge’s largest parades to date, featuring 79 entries.

Following the lead of the Bainbridge High School ROTC’s Color Guard, the parade started with Grand Marshal Ramsay Simmons Jr. and his wife, Peggy, greeting parade attendees atop a convertible, and ended with Santa Claus himself waving to children from a perch on top of a Public Safety fire truck.

Among the fictional characters who showed up included Dr. Seuss’ Grinch Who Stole Christmas, wearing a leather jacket and riding a motorcycle; Smoky Bear, with friends on a float sponsored by the Georgia Forestry’s Decatur County Unit; Fire Pup, a firefighting Dalmatian with his own miniature fire truck on a float sponsored by Fire and Rescue.

Others in costume included the cast of The Nutcracker ballet, as presented by Lucretia’s School of Dance; ballet-dancing angels from Murkerson Dance Academy; a Christmas manger scene from Morningside Baptist Church; and motorcyclists wearing reindeer ears on the Bainbridge Bikefest float.

There were cheerleaders, tumblers, dancers from local dance schools, tae kwon do students, football players as well as a Christmas-song-playing rock band featuring the youth of West Bainbridge Baptist Church.

Parade entries featured snowmen and polar bears; Christmas trees, garland and ribbons; dogs from the Humane Society in red collars and horses wearing red blankets.

A variety of vehicles traveled down the parade route: Utility trucks, pickup trucks, two semi-trailer trucks, sports cars, tractors, a hearse converted into a parade vehicle filled with Shriners, the Red Cross’ emergency disaster services van, golf carts and even a stump grinder.

Businesses as diverse as Bainbridge Pharmacy and Southwest Georgia Oil, as well as many other community-supporting businesses and institutions, filled their floats with employees smiling and waving and tossing out candy to eager children.

And last but not least, was Santa Claus himself, reminding everyone that Christmas is it on its way and pausing to take photos with kids in Willis Park before beginning his way back to the North Pole.

See more photos of the Christmas parade at The Post-Searchlight’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=181421&id=61914822795&l=cbe66996b3