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Hurricane hosts Christmas parade

Dec. 11, 2009 @ 12:00 AM

HURRICANE -- If you have needed an infusion of Christmas spirit, the town of Hurricane was a good place to be on Saturday, Dec. 5, for the annual Hurricane Christmas Parade.

With dark clouds and temperatures hovering at about 30 degrees, the evening didn't seem very promising. However, as one approached the gazebo where the strains of "It's Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas" -- courtesy of the Hurricane Civic Chorus -- filled the air, the atmosphere took on a cheery, holiday mood. Within minutes into a lovely version of "Silent Night," the frozen air was almost forgotten as people mingled around tables laden with cookies, coffee and hot chocolate while awaiting the beginning of the parade.

Children, dressed in their winter outdoor attire, played along the street while their parents visited, all watching expectantly for the first signs of the procession. Finally, a group from the VFW, bearing flags, kicked off the parade, followed by Christ Harvest Cathedral Church members portraying an angel, Mary and Joseph and re-enacting the trip to Bethlehem.

The parade kicked into high gear when members of the Hurricane Fire Department, dressed as elves, tossed candy to the waiting children. A comic moment followed as their fire hydrant robot rolled down the street behind them.

Adding style to the parade, Putnam County Fair Queen Taylor Eaton rode by in a white convertible.

Schools were well-represented, as students from Hurricane Middle and Hurricane High School took part with dance teams, cheerleaders, and the Hurricane High School Band. Hurricane Town Elementary D.A.R.E. also contributed a float and the Putnam County Headstart students waved and smiled from their decorated buses. Smaller students from the First Baptist Academy Preschool had a float, and Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts also made an appearance.

Although most people wore coats, hats, scarves, and gloves, it was the hot refreshments that kept the inner body temperatures up. Putnam County Girl Scouts had a table with cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate. Although the snacks were free, donations were accepted, according to a sign. Kelly Maxwell said they used the donations for different Girl Scout things.

"This is the first year we've done it. We raise money for girls to go to camp and support the service unit," she said. Also working at the refreshment stand were Debi McCoy, Helen Cook and Poca High School Junior Latasha Wheeler.

Wreathes by Vicki was also represented. Serving hot chocolate, Vicki Grass had wreathes and table centerpieces for sale. The long time Hurricane resident said owning a business is in her blood.

"My family owned A to Z. I have been here forever," she said.

What is a parade without children? They were out in full force grabbing excitedly each time candy was thrown and waiting for the chance to see Santa Claus. Kelli and Ray Davis brought Madison, 10 and Josiah, 3. Kelli said she never misses the parade.

"I've come every year since I was a kid and I bring the kids every year," Davis said. Seeing Santa Claus has just increased her children's enthusiasm for the big day. Madison, who loves to read, wants a Kindle, a wireless reading device that downloads books from Amazon.com. Davis said Josiah wants "anything that's a truck."

Jera Beckett, 8, wants a pet shop. The Christmas holiday is particularly fun at her house. She said she and her family have special rituals they participate in each Christmas.

"I put out special oats for reindeer and we make dinner for the family. We make ham, corn, potatoes, and fudge and cookies for Santa," Jera said.

Mirielle Ferrell, 6, a first-grader at Hurricane Town, said she is pretty excited about Christmas. She hopes to find a Nintendo DS on Christmas morning, and came to the parade especially to talk to Santa about what she wanted.

Santa Claus is a pretty popular guy in December and when he and Mrs. Claus rode in high atop a fire engine, everyone cheered. After being helped down a ladder attached to the fire truck, Santa made his way over to the gazebo where he listened patiently to a long line of children and even some who weren't so small.

Landon and Chena Hicks, who are 4 and 3 years of age, were two of the first little ones to see the jolly old elf. Landon, who admitted he was really looking forward to Christmas, said he wanted Batman stuff, while his sister wants a Barbie and her dog.

Candace Clark, age 3, and wearing a beautiful pink jacket and pink bows in her hair, whispered that she wanted baby dolls for Christmas while her brother Randy hoped to find a Nintendo DS, games, and black camouflage under the Christmas tree.

Anthony Ferrell, 8, was going for a more intellectual pursuit when he asked for a new Rubik's Cube. His sister Haley Ferrell, age 5, however, was thinking more designer with a pink guitar.

And last but definitely not least, Jeremiah Shabdue, age 3, of Hurricane, told Santa what he hoped to find under his Christmas tree, and then rejoined his grandparents. Was he excited about Christmas -- and what did he want the most?

"I want monster trucks and a racetrack," he said. Not to be outdone was Papaw Mike Joplin. He, too, is hoping Santa will bring him his biggest wishes.

"I want a Harley and a monster truck," Joplin said, laughing.