It’s officially Christmas time

Holiday parade and tree lighting Saturday kick off season
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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The heavy rain that might have canceled Saturday’s Christmas Parade held off until the very end, when Santa Claus made his annual appearance in Lincoln. A slight drizzle as Santa rode on a vintage fire engine turned into a downpour minutes later when it was time to light the 32-foot Christmas tree in Beermann Plaza. The parade was sponsored by the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce and Lincoln Volunteer Center. Spectators lined Fifth and F Streets to see 49 entries in the annual parade. A color guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion led the participants. Chamber of commerce marketing/special events coordinator Terri Reeves estimated that “a couple thousand” watched the parade. The parade theme was “Christmas Around the World,” which Fruitvale School took seriously. The Fruitvale School float paid homage to the students who attended the school in the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to Lyndell Grey, the Fruitvale School Association president. “The school had Danish, Portuguese, Italian and Japanese children so that’s what we decided to honor with flags and clothing,” Grey said. “The theme was around the world and we originally had our own little around the world.” Their float included antique school desks for the children to sit in and a schoolmistress, played by Juliann Gnile. “I think it’s exciting,” Gnile said about being in the parade. She was “excited” to see the “reaction of the kids.” The Lincoln 4-H Club float’s decorations were almost entirely constructed out of duct tape, from the hair bows on the girls’ heads to the Christmas lights, packages, stockings and Christmas tree ornaments. Caroldee Althouse, 4-H Club co-chairwoman, said the duct tape decorations were made by the club’s fashion review members, who use the duct tape to make “wearable art” like the hair bands. Althouse said the duct tape Christmas packages took about two hours to make. When asked what she was looking forward to about the parade, Althouse said “all of the happy kids and kicking off Christmas.” Several goats, horses and a cow made their way through the parade this year. Each entry that included animals had its very own clean up crew to make sure each animal didn’t leave behind a mess. “It’s very humbling,” Dave Roberts said about cleaning up after the horses from Stardust Pony Dreams. There were 14 horse entries in the parade and a total of 67 horses in the parade, according to Reeves. Several 4-H groups were in the parade. Numerous Lincoln business representatives also participated, including Guiding Fitness children, who hula-hooped their way down the parade route. The Grinch also made an appearance as part of the Sterling Pointe Veterinary float. Most parade spectators The News Messenger spoke with said the horses were their favorite part of the parade. “I liked the horse parts because I like the nail polish on their feet because it’s sparkly,” Lilian Porter, 6, said. Chloe Brownson, 6, said she likes the costumes of some of the girls riding horses. “They wore pretty dresses and there were flowers, too,” Chloe said. Others enjoyed the feeling of community offered by the parade and tree lighting. “It helps us still feel connected to old Lincoln,” said Susan Weckter of Lincoln. Leann Coupe of Wheatland watched the parade since her grandson Zack King, 12, participated this year. “I used to go to school in Lincoln and this is my hometown so I like to be back and see old friends and watch the parade,” Coupe said. “I think it shows spirit and gives the youth a chance to see the community come together in a positive way.”