Holiday spirit lights up Kannapolis

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS — It’s holiday cheer, illuminated.
The Kannapolis Christmas Parade wound its way through downtown Saturday, with music and entertainment to get people in the holiday spirit.
It’s a tradition that people have gotten good at prepping for.
Take Terry and Julia Hess and daughter Tiffany, 6.
They got to the parade site two hours before the 6 p.m. start time.
Longer, if you count the time it took the procession to make its way down South Main Street toward the center of the city.
“We’re prepared,” Terry said.
The Hess family brought along a Thermos of hot cocoa, blankets and heavy coats.
The layout of downtown Kannapolis near the reviewing stand makes it easy to back up a truck and enjoy the parade.
Every year, people vie for those top spots.
From there, watchers could see a few different things in this year’s parade.
Mayor Bob Misenheimer was near the front of the procession.
With him, former Kannapolis City Councilman Ken Geathers, who just ended his 24-year tenure, greeted citizens.
Five marching bands filled the streets with Christmas music, capped by A.L. Brown High School’s marching Wonders and the victory bell won in this year’s football game against Concord.
For those marching in the parade, temperatures in the thirties didn’t keep things from being fun.
Madison Love, for example, said the longer she marched and danced, the better she felt.
She’s a freshman at A.L. Brown and was one of the varsity cheerleaders who followed the bell through the parade route.
This was her first time marching in a parade.
“When we were waiting to go, I was freezing!” Love said.
But when she started marching through the streets, hearing cheers and applause: “I got this huge excitement,” Love said, smiling as she remembered.
“Like, everybody’s eyes are on you. It’s like you’re in a spotlight.”
The spotlight, of course, was on St. Nick at the culmination of the parade.
As Santa’s sleigh receded into the night, organizer Brenda Drye of the Cabarrus Events Association said she was pleased with the parade.
“It was awesome,” Drye said.
Winners of the float judging were also announced.
In the school category, first place went to “Santa’s Hair Shop,” created by students at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Second place was taken by Kannapolis Intermediate School.
The third-place float was the entry from Cabarrus Vocational Opportunities.
In the church category, the top spot went to Wilmar Park Baptist Church.
Living Water Church of God placed second, while third place went to Kannapolis Church of Christ.
In the civic category, Boy Scout Troop 254 took first place.
Girl Scout Troop 403 took second place.
And Kannapolis Relay for Life placed third.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.