Santa Claus is in town, get out your wish lists

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

Santa Claus dropped into Carter County more than a month before schedule, but he wasn't in a sleigh flown by eight reindeer. Instead, he rode into Elizabethton on top of the city of Elizabethton fire truck.
   The annual Christmas parade kicked off the holiday season for over a thousand people who lined the white lines of east Elk Avenue. This year's parade was slightly different than the previous, because the route was backwards.
   Parade floats, bands, emergency vehicles and even Santa followed traffic laws this year and actually went down the one-way East Elk Avenue in the correct direction. But only because of the construction of Elk Avenue Bridge.
   Spectators got to see 33 floats decked out with Christmas lights, seven local bands, four dance groups, dozens of antique cars, and a miniature horse with reindeer antlers.
   Float winners in the church division were First Freewill Baptist Church of Limestone Cove with first place, Union Baptist Church in second place and Little Doe Freewill Baptist in third place.
   Commercial float winners were Portable Buildings and Such in first place, Century 21 in second place, and Northeast State Technical Community College at Elizabethton in third place.
   The top winners in the service divisions were Cub Scout Pack No. 129 in first place, Watauga Historical Association in second place and Elizabethton Housing Authority in third place.
   No floats were entered in the industrial division.
   The unofficial award of smallest float was from Elizabethton Auto Sales. A remote control Hummer was used as their float.
   Besides the candy, many kids seemed to enjoy the bands the most. Everytime a band would pass by all the children would semiconsciously begin marching along to the music and pulling out their imaginary instruments to play along to the music.
   The go-karts from the Fez Patrol with the Jericho Temple Shriners also caught a lot of attention, especially when one go-kart broke down and had to immediately be towed by another Fez Patrol. They didn't delay the parade more than a brief moment, and the audience enjoyed watching the additional antics of the Jericho Temple Jokers' low-rider vehicle.
   Volunteer Fire Departments rounded up the parade with Santa Claus at the rear.
   But he's not leaving for long. He has a little over a month to finish his toys and make his way back to Carter County with his reindeer.