The 24th annual Spirit of Christmas Parade and Festival was presented by the Lee County Chamber of Commerce Saturday, featuring more than 90 participants and floats.
LEESBURG, Ga. — Trombones may not have numbered 76 in Lee County’s big parade, but then again — who’s counting? Beginning at Lee County High School Saturday, the 24th annual Sprit of Christmas Parade, rumbled slowly toward its end in downtown Leesburg.
Often, Christmas seems to be a time for children and 7-year-old Caden McInvale came for a good time.
“My family came to see some floats and fire trucks, and Santa Claus. I’m thinking he might throw some candy,” Caden said.
Caden’s 3-year-old brother, Chase, was there for the parade and the festival on Starksville Avenue right after, ready for a look at Santa, who he just knew would bring him a golf cart this year.
Kaylin Hunter, 8 years old, and her brother, Evan, 6, loved the floats, the Lee County High School Marching Band and Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick, the official grand marshal for the parade this year.
“He’s bringing me some Legos this year,” Kaylin said, “and some doll stuff.”
Sponsored by the Lee County Chamber of Commerce, the Saturday procession began at 10 a.m. and featured various pageant queens, military and veterans groups, self-designed floats by local businesses and utilities, antique cars and perhaps the longest unbroken line of convertible Corvettes this side of the Florida line.
Hard candy rained over Main Street from almost every float and political figure, with children diving for the treats. From Democrat or Republican, and even from Mayor Jim Quinn — nothing mattered but the peppermint and cinnamon.
Participating floats were judged for overall excellence, and according to Lisa Davis, director of marketing at the Lee County Chamber, first place in the commercial category was awarded to Chehaw park, with second going to Albany Technical College and third to the Leesburg Animal Hospital.
In the non-commercial category, first place went to Hasan Shriners, second to Lee County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and third place to True Life Church of God.
Following the human Spirit of Christmas Parade was to be an opportunity for residents to parade their pooches. Dogs would be dressed in Christmas attire, Davis said, and judging would be in three categories, small, medium and large dogs, with prizes awarded in each.
The Spirit of Christmas Festival began immediately after the parade, featuring food, arts and crafts, and vendors of almost every type. Games and rides were provided for the children. Also scheduled was entertainment by Lee County native, Faith Jackson, as well as by Caitlin Gutierrez and Chase Harper, Davis said.