18th annual Parade of Lights brings holiday spirit to downtown Cape Girardeau

Monday, November 30, 2009
Santa and his helpers ride down Broadway in Cape Girardeau during Sunday's Parade of Lights. (LAURA SIMON)

Throngs of cheerful parade watchers were the only thing that poured into downtown Cape Girardeau for the 18th annual Parade of Lights on Sunday. This year, the rain held off and a tradition of Christmastime in Southeast Missouri greeted the crowds who filled the sidewalks along Broadway from Capaha Park to Main Street.

Marla Mills, executive director of Old Town Cape which sponsors the annual parade, said she was happy with a really good turnout as she watched the floats pass by the organization's offices on Broadway.

Nearly 100 entries made up the parade this year. Mills said she was amazed with the creativity of the entrants and liked how so many had gone along with the parade's theme of "Christmas Magic."

Larry and Rhonda Vandergriff, who live in Jackson but work in Cape Girardeau, made sure they were able to get seats along the route Sunday and rose to salute servicemembers and collected bead necklaces as they were thrown from the floats. The couple has seen the parade several times in recent years but said they were impressed with the turnout this year.

On the corner of Main Street and Broadway, Terri Calvert and her 3-year-old twin daughters, Brooke and Riley, collected candy and waved at Girl Scouts who passed by with their float. Calvert said she came to watch friends march in the parade from the J.C. Penney Salon, where she is employed. The girls were excited to see Santa Claus, who Riley said she knew would come at the end of the parade.

The sounds of Christmas were also part of the parade. Several area marching bands played along the route. Christmas music also wafted from many floats.

Winners of the 18th Annual Parade of Lights

Theme

First place: Hutson's Fine Furniture

Second place: Harley Owners Group

Third place: St. Mary's Girl Scouts

Class A, over 25 feet appearance

First place: Hurricane Fork General Baptist Youth Group

Second place: The Bayou Bar and Grill

Third place: Riverside Remodeling and Windows

Class B, under 25 feet appearance

First place: Coldwell Banker

Second place: The Mattress Guys

Third place: Kiwanis Club

Best enthusiasm

First place: Harley Owners Group

Second place: St. Mary's Girl Scouts

Third place: Cape Shrine Club

Best music

First place: Lynnwood Baptist Church

Second place: Oran High School Marching Band

Third place: Westminster Presbyterian Church

Best lighting

First place: Anna-Jonesboro High School Marching Band

Second place: The Bayou Bar and Grill

Third place: Marine Corps League

Chairman's Trophy

KWKZ Pure Country 106

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