Despite the threat of inclement weather, Macon County citizens lined the streets on Sunday for the annual Christmas parade. The theme for this year’s parade was “Candy Canes and Christmas Carols,” which allowed float designers to use a broad range of creative and fun ideas.
The parade, which started on Highlands Road before turing left onto Main Street, was full of excitement and fun for all ages. Complete with Christmas characters like Frosty the Snowman, the Grinch, Rudolph, and of course, Santa Claus, the parade filled the streets with music, laughter and candy.
The Grand Marshal for the parade was Mrs. Helen Carpenter, widow of Senator Bob Carpenter. Because of “Senator Bob’s” lifetime of service to the citizens of Macon County, the Town decided that having his wife as Grand Marshal was one way to honor him. Senator Bob was born and raised in Macon County and graduated from Franklin High School. He went on to serve in WWII. After the war, he served as a bank executive in Franklin until his retirement. At that time, he began his political career becoming a senator in the North Carolina General Assembly and went on to serve eight terms.
This year’s floats were judged before the parade and each had the opportunity to win one of three prizes. First United Methodist Youth received “Best Use of Theme” for their float which was decked out with candy canes and presents and even featured old fashioned Christmas carolers in top hats and petticoats.
First Christian Church won the prize for the “Most Original,” using large candy canes wrapped together as the centerpiece of the float. The highest honor of the day, the “Grand Champion” prize was awarded to Macon County Public Library. The library’s float was complete with a 1950s style diner setup, which included classic rock and roll tunes and waitress skating around sporting poodle skirts and coke floats.
Although they may have not received an award, several floats were notable crowd favorites. Franklin Young Professionals Inc. rocked out to music like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and encouraged the crowd to dance for larger handfuls of candy. A motorized “porta-potty” covered in candy canes got lots of laughs as it popped wheelies and spun in circles. One of the highlights of the parade came right before Santa’s appearance. Trucks carrying Franklin High School’s football team brought citizens to their feet with cheers and applause as the boys sported their jerseys and thanked fans for supporting the Panthers during their fight in the state playoffs, which was cut short in the third round after the Panthers fell to Burns High School out of Cleveland County.
Absent from this year’s parade was the Franklin High School Marching Panther Regiment whose director Buddy Huckabee decided the predicted rain could damage valuable instruments.
Bringing up the rear was the “jolly old elf” himself, Santa Claus, drawing to a close another traditional Christmas parade in downtown Franklin.