For some people, it’s the marching bands. For some, it’s the chill in the air and the grins on the faces. It’s the free candy. It’s watching their children watch the show. For many, it’s Santa Claus.
Most people love something special about a holiday parade.
“It brings people together in a happy way,” Tracy Waltz said from a curb along Gervais Street on Saturday morning.
Columbia traded in its “famously hot” mantra Saturday for something more “famously festive,” as the 62nd annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade made its way through downtown.
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There were dancers and pageant queens, cars and canines, tutus and jingle bells. Even the Grinch put on a smile as he gave and got friendly waves and wishes of “Merry Christmas!”
Waltz and her husband, John, brought along their 10-year-old niece, Ashley Bentz, who was visiting from Atlanta while her sister played in a tennis tournament in Columbia. The Waltzes come every year, making the parade one of their Christmastime traditions, along with decorating their home after Thanksgiving and going to see “The Nutcracker” ballet.
It was Bentz’s first time at the Carillon parade, and she was taken by the marching bands. She herself plays the trumpet.
Three-year-old Ethan Vinson was a fan of the marching bands, too. He couldn’t get enough of the drums, said his mother, Tedra Vinson, who held back her youngest son from trying the join the parade himself.
Ethan and his older brother, 6-year-old Khary, were enjoying the parade for the first time.
“I used to come years ago with my aunt. She used to bring us when we were little,” Tedra Vinson said, as her boys munched on miniature candy canes. “So this is kind of bringing back a lot of memories.”
Lyndsay Harmon watched her 4-year-old daughter, Alexa, make her own memories at the parade. They actually had planned to walk in the parade with a group from Columbia’s Paul Mitchell the School, but the group’s application had not gone through in time, they said.
Nevertheless, Harmon and the Paul Mitchell crew were among the most festive groups along the parade route, garishly decked as characters from Dr. Seuss’s “Whoville” village. They sang Christmas carols together through the Vista as they walked from the school through downtown to their sidewalk spot along the parade route.
“It’s just like gearing up for the Christmas season,” Harmon said. “Transitioning from Thanksgiving to Christmas. ... It’s happy – jolly.”
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.