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Christmas parade a hit with locals

Rain clouds rolled away in time for local organizations to light up their floats and put their spin on the “Christmas in the U.S.” theme for Friday night’s 12th annual Hinesville Christmas Parade.

Alex Garvin, 13, caught all the action along Memorial Drive.

“The parade was really nice,” Alex Garvin said. “I liked how (the participants) were energetic.”

He especially liked Century Tel’s “Arkansas” float, GeoVista’s “Alaska” float and the flips and cartwheels performed by Dancing Unlimited students, who were dressed as “Wizard of Oz” characters.

More than 80 local organizations participated in the downtown parade.

Judy Guyett huddled with her 7-year old grandson, Cole Powell, as Bradwell Institute’s band marched by, playing its rendition of “Deck the Halls.”

“No, I’m not ready (for Christmas), but this is getting me there,” Guyett said.

Leah Meguiar and her three children, each in reindeer horns, were first-timers at the parade. They had something to celebrate.

“We have everybody together,” Meguiar said, motioning to her husband, who returned from a military tour of duty in March. “All the kids are together with us, and he’s home.”

Most spectators did not make it downtown until nearly 7 p.m., but Lisa Williams and her son found their traditional viewing spot on South Main by 6 p.m.

“This is the best-kept secret here,” Williams said. “It started with my mom and she passed it on down.”

When the pulsating music from the Island Rhythms Caribbean Association made its way downtown, Jason Wynn moved to the beat. He watched the parade with his fiancé, Sarah Wilkinson.

“I’ve been coming out ever since I was a little kid,” Wilkinson said.

As fog rolled in and temperatures dropped, the last of the floats came finished the parade route about 8:45 p.m.  Crowds started thinning out.

But Beufort Durrence stayed to the end to wave at Santa Claus with his year-old granddaughter, Sydney Allegria. It was only Durrence’s second time at the event, but he thought it was bigger this year.

“It’s a little more laid back, but it’s a little more personal this year,” Durrence said.

Float winners were: Vann’s (local business category), Puerto Rico Folklore (non-profits category) and First Presbyterian Academy (schools category).

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