Jackson holds annual Christmas parade without dampened spirits

Thursday, December 4, 2003

The skies were cloudy all day, but spectators and parade participants still got into Jackson's cowboy-themed parade on Saturday.

Ordinarily the early December parade draws about 2,500 people, but the continuous drizzle did not dampen attendance.

The floats displayed slogans like "Round Em' Up for Christmas," or "What Will Santa Leave Under Your Cactus?" and "Jesus the Original Buckaroo." Props included cacti as Christmas trees, some topped with sheriff badges and others with cowboy hats. Boy and Girl Scouts and even snowmen wore cowboy hats. The slow-moving wire-mesh white reindeer had a horse mask slung over its face.

The Jackson Barracudas float incorporated a manger scene and rocking horses headed up by a Farmall tractor.

"I think it's neat," Janet Freeman of Jackson said of the cowboy theme.

Freeman said she never goes to Christmas parades because it's too cold. What brought her out this year was her grandson, 2-year-old Camden of Cape Girardeau.

Camden's mother, Tara Conner of Cape Girardeau, also ordinarily doesn't attend Christmas parades, but said, "I think it's putting me in the Christmas spirit."

On the traditional side, antique tractors and fire engines topped with stuffed Dalmatians chugged by blaring Christmas songs and sporting sparkly garland. Jackson and Oak Ridge high schools donned Santa and Christmas tree stocking caps with a variety of angel, wrapped gifts and elf-themed accents adding extra glitter to their bands.

Waving and smiling, the nontraditional River Roses Red Hats drove a pickup with a red Texas-style hat made of ornaments and glitzy items draped over its roof.

An enormous bald eagle, about 9 feet high, was pulled by an Associated Sheet Metal pickup. Made of individual pieces of sheet metal by Wesley Vaughn, an employee of the company, the patriotic icon tied into to the theme with cowhands surrounding it who were bundled up in blankets sitting around a campfire made of crepe paper powered by a fan for effect.

Nathan Michaelson, 12, of Jackson said that was his favorite part of the parade "because it's cool."

cpagano@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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