Haines City Hosted Annual Christmas Parade
by James Coulter
Nearly one week until the big day, Haines City celebrated a holly jolly Christmas with their annual holiday parade last Friday evening.
Several dozen floats and other units made their way through Haines City, starting at Live Oak Avenue on C Street, passing by Lake Eva Park, and ending at 6th Street and Wood Avenue.
The parade was attended by various local businesses, churches, dance troupes, non-profit organizations, and the police and fire departments. The procession started with the Honorable Grady Judd and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, and concluded with Jolly Old St. Nick himself.
A tropical Christmas by the beach appeared to be a common theme with many floats, especially those by Central Church of Christ and Kids Academy Learning Center, with copious amounts of beach balls, palm trees, and grass skirts. Even the mean old Mr. Grinch made several appearances, whether he was appearing along the Whoville themed float or driving along in a custom go kart.
Mayor Morris West and the other city commisioners helped lead the parade. Many drove in cars loaned by Miracle Toyota, the parade’s sponsor for many year. Mayor West himself drove his own car that evening. Either way, he loves participating in the city’s annual holiday event.
“I enjoy meeting and greeting our community, our citizens and taxpayers in our city, and a whole lot of our constituents, just giving them candy and wishing them a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” Mayor West said. “I think it will be a very exciting parade. I am very happy we were able to put this event together for our community, and I think they will enjoy this great parade tonight.”
Haines City Fire Chief Thomas Murphy and his department rode in their bright red truck that evening. As with every other participant, he enjoyed being able to attend the parade and see the community come out for a wonderful evening.
“I just hope everyone has a good time it should go off pretty well,” he said. “Mostly because it is a good community the kids and the people enjoy it. I love being in the parade. It brings a sense of Christmas around. I look forward to walking in the parade and saying hello to everybody out there.”