RED SPRINGS — For the hundreds of people gathered on sidewalks, curbs, cars and pickup trucks on Fourth Avenue on Saturday, Red Springs’ annual parade is a Christmas tradition.
“We just like it,” said Dana Locklear, surrounded by a crowd of friends and family in a parking lot. “We always like the parade, it’s always a good time … and you see people you haven’t seen in a while.”
Standing a few feet away was Mary Leek of Maxton, who was assembling a camp chair so her tired grandson could have a seat near the road. Leek said she doesn’t miss a Red Springs parade.
“I like coming to eat here, and I like coming to shop here,” she said. “Ain’t nothing I can say bad about Red Springs. It’s a good place. It must be good, for me to be coming here for 42 years.”
The afternoon sun beamed down on fire trucks, police cars, dancers, antique tractors, beauty queens and marching bands as they made their way to Hardee’s, the parade’s last stop. Some parade-goers wore shorts in the 70-degree weather.
Mr. B’s food truck kept a short line of people hungry for a hot dog or thirsty for a soda. Others shopped impromptu flea markets that were set up in the parking lots of area businesses, or hosed down their cars at a nearby auto wash.
Many members of the crowd, including 7-year-old Azinjus Jacobs, waited eagerly to see their favorite part of the parade. For Jacobs, that was the Sudan Tomcats.
“I like the cars coming by,” she said. “You know, the little purple cars that go around and around.”
Esha Locklear, sitting nearby, said her favorite part was “the drums,” as family member Roxie Locklear looked on.
“We’re here for the grandkids,” she said. “They enjoy it.”
The hour-long parade also featured classic cars, motorcycles, handmade floats, dune buggies and a tractor-trailer carrying Smokey the Bear in a piece of heavy equipment. Last came Santa, waving a gloved hand and bidding everyone a “Merry Christmas.”