Christmas Parade visits downtown
SANFORD — All manners of people turned out Monday night for Sanford's annual Christmas Parade that wound through downtown from 7 p.m. onwards.
Featuring dance squads, marching bands, beauty queens, firefighters and even a motorcycle club, there was something for everyone in the parade, which featured hundreds of participants representing dozens of groups, businesses and causes. A large audience lined the streets as the floats, marchers and other participants wove their way from in front of Kiwanis Family Park on Hwy. 42 down Wicker Street, through downtown and then back up Carthage Street, returning to the staging area near the intersection with Wicker Street.
"We missed it the last few years," said Rita Godfrey, who came downtown from the Lemon Springs area with her son Christian for this year's parade. "Last time we came, I wasn't that impressed, but I think it'll be better this time. Last time it had too many cars."
Godfrey was likely more impressed this year, as there were some cars but also a lot of variety — everything from a motorcycle club to a semi-truck and even a hot air ballon basket, the fire from which seemed to be a crowd favorite.
Standing on some premium real estate at the corner of Wicker and Carthage streets, Bobby Wicker — no relation to the street, he said — and his family had come for yet another year of fun.
"Me and my wife, we're both from Lee County, born and raised," he said, gesturing to his wife Audrey then their daughter, Haylee. "We've been coming every year since she was a baby."
Haylee Wicker, 13, said she was in the parade last year, playing flute in the San Lee Middle School Marching Band. The band wasn't represented this year — it was the two high schools' turn — but she was excited nonetheless.
"I like all the bright lights, and the floats and everything," she said.