Everyone from local churches and schools to Santa were represented in the Christmas parade on Dec. 1.
A total of 59 floats, vehicles or walking groups participated, including police and fire departments, alumni associations, school groups, businesses, organizations, elected officials and their representatives and more.
Crowds lined the street to watch the parade. A small group stayed behind at the courthouse for the town of Wadesboro’s annual tree lighting ceremony.
Mayor Bill Thacker thanked those who attended and town manager Alex Sewell and Pee Dee Electric for their work in setting up the lights.
Rocky Moore, a seventh-grader at Anson Middle School, helped Thacker and Sewell count down to the lighting, then played “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” on his trumpet.
Rocky said that Sewell asked him to do the countdown and music, and that he was excited to do it.
His mother, Mary, said that ever since Rocky’s dogs beat Sewell’s pug, Meatballs, in the pet costume contest at Uptown Wadesboro, Inc.’s fall festival in October, there has been some rivalry between the two.
“There’s been some friendly competition,” Mary said. She added that Rocky enjoys playing his trumpet.
Rocky said he began playing last year.
Immediately after the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus met with children at First Presbyterian Church in Wadesboro.
The Anson County Partnership for Children sponsors the event and typically hosts it, but moved it to the church this year to give families a warmer place to wait, as they typically line up around the block at the Partnership for children to give their wishlists to Santa.
Last year, around 100 children visited Santa through the Partnership’s event, Bonnie Morgan, community outreach and literacy coordinator, said last year. This year, more than 120 children met with St. Nick despite the location change.
After Santa spoke with the children, Mrs. Claus handed them a book from the collection in her basket, which contained stories designed for a range of ages. Some titles included, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” “Daniel and the Nutcracker,” “Ho! Ho! Ho!,” “Calendar Mysteries: December Dog,” I’m Not Santa!” and many more, from board books through chapter books.
Soon after the event, the children will receive letters from Santa.
“The church has been really good to let us use their fellowship hall,” Morgan said. “We just didn’t want the kids to be out waiting in the cold.”
Caroline Goins, director of the Partnership, said she was pleased with the turnout and happy children.
“It’s fun because it’s more than just meeting Santa, but getting the letter and sitting down to read it,” she said.
“We appreciate the support from the community,” Morgan added. “The community always comes for a visit with Santa.”
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.