A large portion of the population lined the parade route Friday evening to enjoy the Lions Club’s annual lighted Christmas procession. The route proceeded from Buford Park to Houston Street and Church, turning to highlight Celebration Plaza, packed from the Church-Jefferson Street intersection down Gilmer Street to the end of the route near The ROC.
The weekend’s festivities began with the official lighting of the Christmas tree downtown by Sulphur Springs Downtown Business Alliance at 5:30 p.m. The display was assembled last weekend by Sulphur Springs firefighters. Families visited local restaurants, enjoyed a few vendors, took kids to see the petting zoo. The white tigers too were available and some wares were offered at half a dozen booths.
Families and kids of all ages visited Santa and Mrs. Claus, whispering Christmas wishes and taking photos in front of the lighted Christmas tree. A few even brought pets for a little attention and photo op with the Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Hopkins County EMS displayed on the square the decorated Christmas trees submitted for judging by the community. Entries were bright, creative and cheerful. Some were traditional, others looked like a Grinch, snow people, a package and one used small pieces of lumber to form a tree. Winners are slated to be announced on Monday.
Many enjoyed food, snacks or warm beverages with family and friends at downtown businesses. Children were able to purchase cotton candy and fun lighted balloons and rotating lighted toys.
The parade include a number of brightly lit conveyances, trucks and offerings from schools, businesses, agencies, churches and health groups too. Blue Santa, the Grinch, Toy Story and other Disney figures, snowmen, bears, school groups such as bands and cheerleaders, a frog, lighted unicorn and pooches were among the features sights on the floats and rides. Things wrapped up with decorated fire trucks and, of course, Santa atop one of Sulphur Springs Fire Department’s apparatus.
The area was warm, with a slight breeze to lend a more Christmasy feel to the festivities.
Downtown continues to offer holiday activities Saturday, with a Christmas Market on Main opening at 9 a.m. and offering unique goods to local shoppers until 4 p.m. Dec. 7; 26 vendors signed up to have displays open to foot traffic in the 200 block of Main Street (between Davis and Gilmer Streets) Saturday.