Brightening Broadway

Monday, November 28, 2005

Hundreds of people got in the Christmas spirit as they gathered along the streets in downtown Cape Girardeau Sunday night for the annual Christmas Parade of Lights.

While the brightly lit floats filled with manger scenes and Santa Claus went by, Jane Poole, of Cape Girardeau, commented on the unusual warm weather.

"It's not as cold as it usually is," she said.

Temperatures were in the mid-50s to low 60s during the parade.

"I'm not complaining though, it could have rained," Poole said as she watched her daughter, Madeline, catch candy from a passing float.

The 9-year-old's favorite part about the Parade of Lights is the free candy.

"I like the floats, too," Madeline said.

This year's parade featured 97 entries, all focusing on the theme, "What Christmas Means to Me." Floats, 18-wheelers, trailers and cars wheeled down Broadway from Capaha Park to Main Street.

The SEMO Harley Owners Group put its own unique spin on its "Bethlehem" float. Three men perched on Harley's were holding gold, frankincense and myrrh, delivering it to a manger scene.

Cairo, Ill., resident, Phyllis Halliday attended her first Parade of Lights with her grandson, Bryan Thurston.

"I've been before but she hasn't," Thurston said. "I really like seeing all the floats."

This year, the grandmother and grandson had a special reason to attend the parade. Thurston's sister was part of Notre Dame Regional High School's dance team, which was part of the parade.

"That will be our favorite part of the parade," Halliday said.

The Midwest Truck Sales and Service took the first-place trophy for appearance in floats more than 25 feet. The SEMO HOG Chapter took second in that category, while Pavestone Co. took third.

In appearance under 25 feet, Hutson's Fine Furniture took first, River Radio won second and Coldwell Banker placed third.

SEMOW Lawn Racers took first place for enthusiasm, with Gordonville's Fire Department coming in second and Marmic Fire and Safety winning third.

Notre Dame's band won for best music. St. Vincent de Paul placed second and Kelly High School's band came in third.

Best lighting went to Saint Francis Medical Center, with Ameren UE in second and the SEMO District Fair placing third.

Grace Fellowship Church came in first in the theme category, with Red Star Baptist placing second and the Cape Daisy/Brownie group winning third.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

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