Flocking Around The Christmas Tree

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• Holiday parade fills downtown Erwin.

By SHAUN SAVARESE

Of The Record Staff

Before the fleet of fire trucks, ambulances and tow trucks, several hundred people lugged blankets and beach chairs to the intersection of Denim Drive and 13th Street in Erwin Monday night.

The annual Erwin Christmas Parade rolled around that corner just after 7 p.m. with a lone bagpiper leading the way for the sheriff in a truck’s bed, the grand marshal on a classic fire engine and the mayor in a gigantic shopping cart.

More than 80 entries, 219 total participants, and more than one hour later, Santa Claus rolled atop his sleigh, slowly from 10th Street, up Denim Drive and around that very same corner.

“Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas,” he yelled, while chucking candy assisted by an elf to children. As he turned onto 13th Street, children jumped and squealed in excitement under the faux snow blowing out of the Erwin Area Chamber of Commerce snow machine.

Walking up the sidewalk — in their effort to get closer to Santa — were Samantha Peregoy, Tim, Ava and Julia Bezgela. Ms. Peregoy held 2-year-old Ava’s hand as they crossed over H Street behind the makeshift stage. Mr. Bezgela cradled 4-month-old Julia on their trek to get closer to the “man in red.”

Nearby, three Triton High School seniors huddled around a 9-week-old black, female Labrador puppy.

Julia Remaley and Kaylee Moulton of Coats and Cheyenne Rowley of Dunn, hugged and petted the little doggie named Bailey, as several homemade floats rolled past.

“We are all usually in the Christmas parade,” Cheyenne said. “We decided to watch this year instead of being in it.”

“We came out to have fun and enjoy the parade,” Kaylee added.

And what a parade it was; horses, clowns and cruisers trotted, danced and zoomed by as holiday music filled the warm evening air.

“This is a great night to do this,” See Erwin, Page 3A

Landon Bradley stands proudly in front of Erwin’s Christmas Tree, sword and slinky in hand. The 5-year-old Harnett County native is wearing his commemorative 75th anniversary Erwin Fire Department helmet during Monday night’s parade.The fire department was the honorary grand marshal for the Christmas Parade.

Daily Record Photo/Shaun Savarese Erwin

Continued From Page One

Hodges Chapel Church Pastor Michael Preddy said of the weather.

The Cub Scouts passed by on their float before and after several beauty queens and politicians. The Triton High School JROTC, Harnett County commissioners, the Harnett County School Board and Erwin officials all rode in and on their preferred mode of transportation. Young Cooper Dunn’s ride was a Radio Flyer steered by his mother and Erwin Methodist Church member Shelly Dunn.

The Triton Showstoppers serenaded and the West Johnston Band treated the town to an instrumental before the ripping, popping backfires of a group of motorcycles dusted downtown with exhaust smoke and smiles.

Like Bailey, Peanut the pooch had a hug from his family, calming his nerves from the noise of the parade. Christi Parker and her daughter, Alyssa Parker, 10, watched with Peanut as each float passed by next to the Erwin Gazebo.

Waiting To Cheer On Son

Harnett County educators, Tamika and Garo Sheats Sr., watched with their four children, as son, Jason, rode atop the Dunn PAL float.

The couple’s other children, Jordan, 13, Garo Jr., 11, Courtney, 10, and Iyana, 13, all joined their mom and dad in “hollering” for Jason. “We were representing in support,” Mrs. Sheats said. She is a kindergarten teacher at Harnett Primary and her husband is a oneon- one teacher at Western Harnett High School.

Another proud parent saw her daughter driving a GMC truck for state Rep. David Lewis. Brenda Page of Dunn is the mother of Chandra Reed, an assistant for Rep. Lewis.

“I’ve come to the parades before, but the night parade was really nice,” Ms. Page said. “Daytime parades are nice too, but the lights really made it special.”

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