Holiday parade draws crowd Saturday night

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Spectators of all ages lined Fifth and F Streets on Saturday to witness the miracle that was this year’s Christmas parade. Twenty-nine entrants marched, trotted or drove through the parade, each representing the “Miracle on Fifth Street” theme. Although Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce membership and events coordinator Terri Reeve said the number of parade entries is usually in the 40s, she was positive about this year’s parade. “I think it went great,” Reeves said. “It seemed longer than it was going to be (with less parade entries) and there was a good mix of different types (of entrants).” And there were more parade spectators this year. “It was the biggest crowd we have every had,” Reeves said. Both Reeves and Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Bob Romness, however, did not have an estimate of the crowd size. Most children The News Messenger interviewed after the parade said participants throwing candy was their favorite part of the parade. “I liked all of the horses and how they gave out candy,” said Emma Salinas, 10. Sophia Edwards, 7, said her favorite part of the parade was “seeing my baby sister,” since her sister was on the Little School House float this year. “I liked when they threw out candy and the big Army trucks because it was awesome,” Jacob Gomez, 9, said. Jody Schmittner, a Roseville resident, said her family chose to visit Lincoln for the parade. “We like the small-town parade and it’s not as long as Auburn’s, which is nice when it’s cold,” Schmittner said. “Our kids love the candy.” Some parade entrants said the parade was a way to let others know about their businesses and organizations. Fatima Diaz, 15, was in the parade with ReDirect, a Lincoln nonprofit organization that provides services to at-risk youths. “I’m here to represent ReDirect and have fun,” Fatima said. “I just like being in it (the parade) to be involved.” Sarah Poling, assistant manager for dog-grooming business My Dog Spot, walked the parade with her poodle. The poodle had red stars dyed into its fur. “We try and do this every year,” Poling said of the parade. “It’s good advertising and fun.” The annual lighting of the Christmas tree in Beermann Plaza followed the parade, which was preceded by performances of several local choirs, including the Carlin C. Coppin Elementary School choir. After a countdown from Mayor Paul Joiner and the crowd, the tree was lit. Soon-to-be resident Jennifer Whitney said the parade and tree lighting further reinforced her family’s decision to move to Lincoln next month. “We are just moving to Lincoln. That’s why we came here tonight,” Whitney said. “I loved the old-fashioned feel and the parade was great. I am so excited (to move to Lincoln).” New to this year’s holiday festivities was an open house, where a number of downtown businesses were open from 4 to 8 p.m. for visitors to stop by their shops. Each business participating had something to give to those who stopped by, including calendars, cookies, candy, pictures with Santa Claus and, in the case of Awful Annies, chili and soup. Terry Bohlmann, who enjoyed a cup of tomato basil soup at Awful Annies, said he thought the open house “is a good idea.” “It’s good for the businesses and community, and gets people involved by checking out what is in downtown,” Bohlmann said.