Parade brings residents together

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Franklin High School Band marches in Franklin’s Christmas Parade on Friday night. -- FRANK A. DAVIS | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Frank Davis has a belief that parades have magic powers that bring people together.

That was the case on Friday night, when more than 5,000 turned out for the Franklin Community Christmas Parade.

“I was so pleased to see the number of diverse persons from many local organizations and concerned citizens working in union on the planning committee for the Christmas parade,” said Davis, director of Franklin Parks & Recreation. “This is what makes a city great.”

Franklin did not plan a Christmas parade last year and in 2009, the parade was rained out. A committee representing a dozen groups, including the City of Franklin, organized this year’s parade.

The parade featured 75 entries, which included about 20 floats and five high school marching bands, said Trish Edwards, a parade committee member representing the GFWC Franklin Junior Woman’s Club.

“We were very pleased,” Edwards said. “It was a great turnout of participants and spectators — more than I’ve seen in the last 10 years.”

“It was a great event,” added Scott Seddon, chairman of the committee and a member of Franklin VFW Post 4411 and Franklin Shrine Club. “This was the first time it was a pure community event. In the past, one group did it.”

Organizers plan to host next year’s parade the first Friday night in December.

“They (spectators) loved it at night,” Seddon said.

Edwards agreed.

“I would like to think the Christmas parade being changed to Friday night was a big draw,” she said. “It was kind of a throwback on how things used to be done around here.”

Davis also called the parade a success.

“It showed that it is something that has to take place each year,” he said. “ I traveled the whole distance of the parade route and saw the excitement and enthusiasm of the spectators as they watched the record number of entrants.”

“I thought that Santa’s appearance brought a joy to many of the youth, but as I looked deeper at the picture, I think that many of the adults seemed to lose it too when he appeared,” he continued.

Other organizations representing the parade committee included the City of Franklin, Downtown Franklin Association, Franklin Rotary Club, Franklin Sportsman Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Lambda Psi Omega Chapter, Franklin Tri-County Alumnae Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Franklin Star Lodge 288, Antioch Franklin Southampton Order of the Eastern Star Chapter 72, Franklin’s Lions Club and resident volunteers.

Judges were Dianna Clark, past president of Windsor Lions Club; Keavy Dixson, director of operations for Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia; Willie Jones, supervisor of shipbuilding, Code 159 Newport News and U.S. Navy retired; Curtis Holland, district deputy for the 8th and 10th Masonic districts; and Angela Paez, GFWC Virginia Southside District Director of Junior Clubs.