WG&L Celebration of Lights twinkles, shines

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- Someone let Alice, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and thousands of holiday revelers out to line Pine Avenue on Saturday night.

The 20th Annual Water Gas & Light Celebration of Lights Parade brought the "Alice in Wonderland" characters out as part of this year's theme "Through the Looking Glass."

The Grinch also made an appearance in a Santa costume. Looking Grinch-like, but acting more like the jolly old St. Nick, Larry Moore has played the Grinch at four parades.

"A couple little babies get scared," Moore said from behind his green Grinch mask. "But most of the children laugh and want to have their picture taken with me."

As for Alice, she wasn't sure what the Dormouse said, but she had fun peering through the looking glass on the Chehaw float supported by the Friends of Chehaw group.

"This is really great fun. Everyone knows who I am -- I'm Alice," said costumed Morgan Seegmueller, Chehaw's membership coordinator. "I'm excited to spread Christmas joy and have my picture taken as Alice. I also signed autographs as Alice."

Dressed in eight of hearts and two of hearts card costumes, Jordan Lane, 14, and Michelle Barron, 15, accompanied Alice and a slightly ditzy rabbit with a large clock on its chest.

"I'm the rabbit that Alice chases down the rabbit hole," said Taylor DiFranco holding up the clock. "I'm always late."

The Christmas joy started early for James and Michele Turpin sitting on the corner of North Jackson and Pine Avenue with their son Collin, 10, in anticipation of the 6 p.m. parade.

The Leesburg family double-dipped parades by viewing the Leesburg parade in the morning and attending the night's festivities in Albany.

"It just feels like joy in your heart when you hear the music and see the parade," Collin said. "It is just great to see."

Performing before the parade started, the Radium Spring Middle Magnet School for Arts dancers held an arriving crowd's attention as they danced a routine to recorded music.

To hear Sa'Haara Bryant, 13, and Toni Jones, 11, two of the dancers tell it, spreading the Christmas spirit through dance in the annual parade is more rewarding than watching the show.

"It is just so great to be able to perform for people and spread the spirit," Jones said. "It makes me feel good to perform for people."

Then there were those who just light up watching and respond in their own way. Tyler Walker, 2, was at his first parade.

The Forty & Eight veterans train passed by Walker and let loose a loud "Beep-Beep." Unfazed, Tyler yelled back, "Beep-Beep."

In Christmas train talk between a 2-year-old boy and a parade train that translates as, "Merry Christmas." And at the end of the parade Santa had the same message for the crowd.