Tradition marches on with parade
By Shavonne Potts
Misty Jones and her family usher in the excitement of the Southern Rowan Christmas Parade each year around this time, which for them is all about tradition.
Tuesday’s parade began in Landis this year and picked up in China Grove.
The Jones family reserves the same spot next to the Depot each year.
“My brother comes out every year. He always gets this spot,” she said.
Jones drives a school bus for Bostian Elementary School. Her older brother, Brian Jones, picks up her car and parks it around 1:30 p.m.
“This is a tradition, and you have to have tradition,” Misty said.
Part of the tradition is to bring their chairs, blankets and for the kids to bring a bag to collect their candy.
Jones brought her daughter Briana (who is named after Brian) and her friend, Salem. The girls say the best part of the parade is, of course, the candy. Also, seeing their friends in the parade.
The Joneses usually attend the parade as a family. In 2001, Misty and Brian’s father, Larry Jones, had a stroke and was unable to speak, but the family brought him to the parade as they’d always done. Misty said she could see he still enjoyed it. He was able to convey his excitement.
He died in 2004, but the family decided they would keep the family tradition going.
The family meets up after the parade for their family dinner at Gary’s Barbecue, including members who couldn’t get out to the parade.
The parade signals the beginning of Christmas for Jones.
“I’ll continue my Christmas shopping, and tonight I’ll go home to wrap some presents,” she said.
Ronnie Furr attended the parade with his grandson, James Stepp, 9. They’re in the crowd just about every year.
Stepp said he likes the candy, bands and football team.
Furr said they were also there to see his grandson Colton Ballard, who plays football for Carson High.
Wayne and Jaudon Cline also brought their grandchildren, Kailey, 2, and Jace, 5, to the parade. They usually attend the Holiday Caravan in Salisbury each year as a family, but Jaudon has to work, so they decided they’d go to the parade anyway.
The family enjoys the bands, the military units.
Jace enjoys catching the candy, he said.
Brenna Law attended the parade with her boyfriend, Phil Austin, his grandson, Drew Blackwell, 3, and her daughter, Elizabeth, 10.
For the past 12 years the couple have held a spot at the parade.
What Law likes about the parade is the “sounds and everybody being here.”
She likes the intimacy of the parade. “It’s not too big and not too small,” she said.
The best part of the parade for Drew and Elizabeth are the candy and waiting for Santa.
The parade gets Aleka Lawson, 20, in the Christmas mood.
She’s attended the parade all of her life. She was with her daughter, mother, grandmother, aunts and other family.
“I just like to see everybody,” she said.
Emma Gulledge of Kannapolis always sets up camp at the parade.
This year she was propped up against her car because she broke her foot a while ago.
She was there to see her great-granddaughter, Bailee Nester, 5, who was on the Dance Dimensions float.
Also with Gulledge were her husband, son-in-law, granddaughter and friend.
Harrison Bell, 12, of Rockwell, attended to show support to his little sister, Laney, who was part of the Center Stage Dance Company.
“I mainly come to support her,” he said.
He also thinks getting candy is not that bad of a deal, either.