By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The annual City of Parsons Christmas festivities put on by the employees and several volunteers recently lit up the town. Tammy Greenlief Michael, activities coordinator, and the entire city staff worked diligently weeks in advance to prepare for the events, which included contests voted for by the public for wreaths, posters, and ornaments, scheduling sleigh and hay rides, and so much more.
“One of the most beautiful times of the year is Christmas where families and friends come out and celebrate the most joyous occasion known to man”, exclaimed Michael. “The City of Parsons is so proud to be able to host such a wonderful event where it gives everyone both near and far the opportunity to come out with family and friends and be a part of all the Christmas festivities”, she added.
The day kicked off with a crafter and vendor show that ran from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Local artisans set up displaying their many talents and sharing them with the community. Starting at noon, lines were forming to hop on the sleigh rides and hayrides through the streets of our beautifully decorated town. Wood carvings were also being conducted by Sacco at the Courthouse Plaza.
The wreaths, ornaments, and posters were on display at the City Building from Dec. 1 – 7 for voting in addition to being posted on Facebook for online voting. At 2 p.m., crowds gathered on the Courthouse steps to listen to live music and for the announcement of the City Building competition winners. The winners of the poster contest were: first place Quinton Teter, second pace Isaiah Leary, and third place Brock Hovatter. The winners for the wreath competition were: first place Lois Matlick, with second and third place honors going to Donna Morrison. Lastly, the ornament winners were: first place Barbara Miller, second place Isaiah Leary, and third place Johnna Thompson.
Following all of that excitement, there was an ugly sweater and Santa beard contest. Entrants went out of their way sharing their Christmas spirit in a creative way. First pace for the Santa beard contest went to Brandon Hofer, second place David Stemple, and third place went to Wendell Hofer. For the ugly sweater contest, first place was awarded to Deanna Summerfield, second to Delton Rhoades, and third place honors to Mable Fitzwater. A house lighting contest also commenced earlier in the week with the winners announced as follows: first place Brad Stevens, second place Letha Kahl, and third place Roberta Knotts.
Lineup for the 2018 “A Country Christmas” parade began at 4 p.m. at the Board of Education parking lot. There were sixty eight entries this year, which is similar to last year’s turnout according to Michael. Michael Bonnett served as this year’s Grand Marshal. The parade was filled with vehicles by local entities such as the City Council, Parsons Pizza, Tucker County Commissioners, and so much more. Floats were entered by several churches and businesses and performances by baton groups and dancers. To top off the “Country Christmas” theme, even Hickory Orchard Farm decked their horses with bows and bells and rode them through the streets of Parsons. Mr. and Mrs. Clause rode through the end of the parade on their horse drawn sleigh wishing everyone a Merry Christmas before making their way to Mill Race Park.
The winners of the parade entrants were as follows: For the general category, first place Kingsford Manufacturing Company, second Jaelyn Myers, and third the Tucker County Animal Shelter. Within the church category, first place went to St. Johns United Methodist Church, second to the First Baptist Church, and third the Parsons Nazarene Church. In the twirlette category, first place was awarded to the Barbour County Strutters, second to the County Beauty Twirlettes, and third to Pure Country Twirlettes. For the dance category, first place went to Rising Star Twirlettes, second to Prestige Baton Group, and third to the Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School Basketball team and Cheerleaders.
At the conclusion of the parade, Santa was hearing requests and smiling for photographs at the grand opening of the synthetic ice rink at the park. Bonfires crackled, marshmallows roasted, and hot cocoa was sipped as the crowd watched the new attraction being utilized for the very first time. Michael Bonnett and Rivers Edge performed musical selection to provide a perfect ending to a frigid yet fantastic Christmas celebration.
“This has been one of our most exciting year yet.” Michael concluded.