Landis and China Grove start the season with parade
CHINA GROVE — As crowds gathered on Main Street, a passing train blew its whistle to the rhythm of “Jingle Bells.”
It was the first sign of things to come: those tried-and-true floats, cars and walking groups of the Southern Rowan Christmas Parade.
The parade started in Landis at 3 p.m. and was scheduled to reach China Grove at 4 p.m. The number of participants this year would lead to a delay in reaching the second town’s center.
There was plenty available to pass the time during the wait. Vendors were selling cotton candy, peanuts, popcorn, candy apples and caramel apples.
Goodman Farm Supply offered free popcorn and one-dollar bottles of water to benefit Main Street Mission. Alan Goodman said the popcorn is a 20-year-old tradition.
“We are a family business,” Goodman said. “That’s why we do this: it’s because we’re family.”
Kimberly Christy has attended the parade since childhood, as her father was a member of the China Grove Police Department. Now, she comes with her daughter, Gracie, and husband, Brian.
“It’s a thing that the community does. We all come out, … we see people we know, we talk, we interact. It’s just a small-town life,” she said. “It boosts the holiday season. It’s kind of like the icing on the cake.”
The parade started with law officers’ cars and rescue vehicles from China Grove, Landis and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department.
Many threw candy and treats from inside the cars, atop their floats, or while walking on foot.
The float from Goodman’s Farm Supply gave out 800 beach balls during the parade.
Additional parade participants included marching bands, color guards, cheerleading squads, dance troops, pageant queens, county officials and more.
The parade closed with several horses from Faith Riders. The animals were all dressed for the season with Santa hats, elf hats, reindeer antlers, red Rudolph noses and more.
Two horses were adorned with working Christmas lights.
The festive troop was followed by the man himself, Santa Claus, wishing all a merry Christmas.