MARIETTA — For such a small town, Marietta puts on a big Christmas parade.
“We’ve been coming here together for three years,” Marion resident Rachelle Cooper said of her and her friends. “It’s the best parade around.”
Marietta — a town of a little more than 1 square mile —was decking the halls Saturday as the Whitehouse Volunteer Fire Department/Marietta Christmas Parade made its way throughout downtown.
Cooper clapped her hands as her granddaughter, Brook Norton, danced to the sounds of the Lake View High School band performing “Feliz Navidad.” It was the second year the 4-year-old visited the parade, and she liked everything “except the clowns.”
The parade, which started at 11 a.m., featured four high school bands. Fairmont High School performed LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” a crowd favorite. There were nine Shriner units, antique tractors, classic cars, beauty queens and jolly old Saint Nick.
There were also some much older Saint Nicks from the Omar Jazz Morticians, looking a bit under the weather in a vintage hearse and cranking out “Jingle Bells.”
“It’s just fun,” Cooper said. “Every year.”
Making his way down the street dressed head to toe as a woman — a bit unconvincingly — Elijah Jones was another crowd favorite, providing copious amounts of laughs.
According to Jones, that’s what it’s all about.
“I do this every year,” he said. “We’re just trying to put some fun in it.”
With temperatures in the high 60s, the weather was as bright and cheery as the atmosphere in downtown Marietta — perfect for watching the parade, which lasted for more than an hour.
Sandy Lennon, whose parents are from the tiny town, visited the parade from Fayetteville. A piece of candy didn’t stand a chance against her daughter Summer, who enjoyed the sweets seemingly more than anything else.
“It’s her first time coming here,” Lennon said. “My parents grew up here and have been coming for a long time.”
As floats made their way down the streets of Marietta, some filled with elves and others decked out as pirate ships, one thing was clear — big things come in small packages.
Next in the parade lineup is Pembroke, which will hold its Twilight Christmas Parade at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The parade will line up at the Givens Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and end at Pembroke Elementary School.
Participation in the parade is free. Participants are asked to be at GPAC at 3:30 p.m. to begin lining up.