Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 30, 2013

LANDIS — Tuesday’s rain and wet weather gave way to warmer temperatures and clear skies for Friday’s rescheduled Southern Rowan Christmas Parade.
The parade went on as planned Friday, following postponement earlier in the week due to inclement weather.
And the response from parade-goers was generally positive, although there were fewer entries by far — a total of 74, instead of the original 108, co-organizer Meredith Smith said.
Smith said the decision to postpone the parade had resulted in less participation, especially among local schoolchildren.
“It’s Black Friday,” Smith said. “People go out of town and on vacation.”
Also, she said, many who might have participated, including school JROTC cadets, the Carson High School band and others, didn’t have access to buses and staff to make being in the parade possible.
“I’d call today a success based on the weather. I would not call it a success as a parade,” Smith said.
“We as a community look forward to the participation of our schools,” Smith said.
Despite the delay and the changes, regular parade-goers said the turnout for the 3 p.m. start in Landis appeared to be on par with average.
“I think the number’s about the same,” said Lisa Faggart, of Landis. She stood at the intersection of Ryder Avenue and Main Street as the opening cars of the parade approached from the south.
Faggart said she had been surprised at the decision to postpone the parade, “but at the same time, I was glad.”
Especially, Faggart said, because of the number of schoolchildren who take part.
Given the wet and cold weather, with threats of ice and snow, earlier in the week, “I’m glad everybody’s not sick,” Faggart said.
Under clear, blue skies, the parade did feature the South Rowan High School band, plus many floats from youth organizations, churches and clubs.
And there was absolutely no shortage of candy.
Daisy Beauchamp came to the parade with her mother, Nikki Gibson, and Shawn Beauchamp, visiting from Michigan. She got enough candy to fill her pockets.
Gibson said it was a blessing in disguise that the parade had been postponed. She wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise, she said.
As handfuls of mints, chocolates and other candies rained onto the road in front of the spectators, kids and parents scooped them up.
“We don’t have enough!” said Colby Patterson, 10, who patrolled the street as the next set of entries rolled up.
His grandmother, Jane Patterson, of Spencer, sat nearby with her son and daughter-in-law, and a total of six kids ranging in age from 2 to 10.
“The little kids have a good time,” Jane Patterson said, as she held a friend’s daughter next to her on the blanket.
Kathy Cline, of Landis, brought 5-year-old grandson Grady Smith to the parade.
She’d taken a half-day off Tuesday to attend, but said she was glad for the postponement and the warmer weather that came with it.
Cline said she doesn’t usually get to come to the parade, “since normally it’s on Tuesday.”
“I’m grateful they rescheduled it instead of canceling,” Cline said.
Melissa Sierawski, of China Grove, had her daughter, Peyton, with her in a stroller.
She, too, was amazed at the candy. “They get more here than at Halloween!” she said, gesturing to a bulging bag nearby.
So it was appropriate, she said, when representatives of a local dentist’s office tossed out toothbrushes to the crowd.
Sierawski and her mother, Annette Sierawski of China Grove, said this was Peyton’s first parade.
She spent the time waving and blowing kisses from her stroller to the passing floats and marchers.
The parade’s Best Entry award went to Highest Praise Church, Smith said. Gospel Lighthouse Church won the Most Creative Entry award, and Most Spirited Entry went to the South Rowan High School marching band and cheerleaders.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.