Italy’s 2012 Christmas Festival & Parade featured the recently constructed pavilion with vendor booths located on the inside, outside and up and down the sidewalks lining main street with several downtown businesses joining in the holiday fun.
As lighted Christmas wreaths decorated the telephone poles, pits steadily grilled hot food for festival goers as a slight breeze and a cloudy sky helped create winter-like chill to further set the scene.
Everyone lined main street as the parade made its way through downtown Italy. There were hot-rods and sports cars, four-wheelers and mules, horseback riders, marching soldiers, the Italy High School cheerleaders driven by Jimmy Hyles and Bobbie Hyles, the Avalon High School cheerleaders as well as their junior high/JV and pee-wee cheerleaders, Stephen Janek steering a John Deer tractor pulling the Stafford Elementary Student Council, the Stafford Elementary Choir, Trinity Mission of Italy, L.P. who walked with a banner and a puppy on a leash in front of a pickup filled with staff members, several players representing the Italy Gladiator football team and 2012 IHS Homecoming Queen Alyssa Richards who was escorted in a convertible chauffeured by Ronnie Hyles.
Russell and Wesley Helms rode matching four-wheelers as a Helms Garage and Wrecker Service tow-truck followed behind with parents Keith and Peggy Helms inside. Also participating were Salvation Riders #1026 of Hillsboro, Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown, the Forreston Fire Department, the Avalon Fire Department, the Italy Police Departments’ Chief Diron Hill and several other officers and City of Italy Mayor Frank Jackson who were all apart of the Christmas convoy. James Hobbs, representing Hobbs Feed Store of Italy, shared a four-wheeler with City of Italy employee Rhonda Cockerham who joined in with many other floats and attractions.
As passing floats tossed candy into the crowds, the real thrill was the highly anticipated arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, played by Donald and Karen Brummett, who arrived in style escorted by the Italy Fire Department whose bright red lights somewhat resembled Rudolph’s red nose.
Following the parade, the Smoke-n-Mirrors Band provided musical entertainment with bleachers setup to accommodate the crowd. Bryant Cockran served as parade emcee as well as announcing the lucky winners of a slew of donated prizes with Taylor Boyd peddling away on a new bike.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus entrusted the North Pole to their elves a bit longer as they posed for pictures taken by Jessica Reese and heard one Christmas wish after another from excited kiddos.
Special thanks to all the vendors, the Brummett’s, event volunteers, the City of Italy and all parade participants who helped make the 2012 Christmas Festival and Parade a huge success! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!