Holiday Caravan Parade delights the crowd

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, November 26, 2014

By David Purtell

The rains passed and the sun fought off the cloudy skies to shine down on the 55th Holiday Caravan Parade Thursday.

Both sides of Salisbury Avenue in Spencer were filled with folks excited to celebrate the start of the holiday season. The temperatures were in the mid-40s, but a warm blanket or jacket was all that was needed to stay cozy.

The crowds cheered and waved as family, friends and familiar faces passed by on the parade route. More than 150 entries were in this year’s parade, including 11 marching bands.

Contest judges sat in passenger cars in front of the N.C. Transportation Museum and watched through windows as bands stopped to perform and the floats went by.

A drone hovered above the parade, filming as its lights flashed in red and green.

Brad Gulley, of Salisbury, played on the sidewalk with his grandchildren, Noah and Aidan Milton.

“Excited for the parade,” Gulley said.

Noah, 3, said he likes the fire trucks, and Aidan, 5, said he came for the cotton candy sold by vendors who pushed their carts up and down the sidewalk.

“Popcorn, $2 dollars,” they’d shout, causing children to tug at their parent’s coat in hopes of getting something crunchy or sweet.

Marshall Baker was pushing his cart of toys, balloon dolls and candy. He’s from Georgia but works parades across North Carolina.

“Pays the bills,” he said.

After buying a box of popcorn from Marshall, Robert and Kay Leonard said they were at the parade for the first time. They’re from Davidson County and were in town to see their son, Brian, who recently joined the Spencer Police Department.

WAXN TV 64  recorded the parade and will air a replay on Dec. 14 at 10:30 a.m.

Parade Grand Marshal David Whisenant, a Salisbury native and longtime reporter for WBTV 3, stood tall in a fancy tuxedo and top hat and waved to the crowd from the back of a pickup truck.

This year’s Miss Holiday Caravan was Michaela Fink of Salisbury. She is the daughter of  Mike and Debra Fink.

Carol and Kent Brown came to the parade regularly when their children were young. But after the children grew up, the couple missed the parade for 10 years before coming back last year.

Carol said watching the parade is “nostalgic.”

“Makes you think of days gone by,” she said.

The Piedmont Pistons of Shelby zipped in their go-carts, Junior ROTC cadets marched in unison and high school bands rocked to the beat.

The Livingstone College Blue Bears Marching Band got oohs and aahs from the crowd with its song and dance performance.

And at the end there was, of course, Santa Claus in his sleigh, his reindeer pulling him along.

“Merry Christmas to all,” he said.

And to all a good night.

Contact reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.