Kristina and Sammy Hadaway looked down at their dog Butterbean, who was sitting in Kristina’s lap looking anything but amused in her dog-sized Christmas sweater and hat. Cornbread, Butterbean’s little sister, enjoyed posing for pictures at Auburn’s annual Christmas parade in the past, Kristina explained, but this year it was just Butterbean and the Hadaways participating. And Butterbean enjoyed pictures less.
“Cornbread didn’t make it, so we’re doing it in memory of her this year,” Kristina said. Cornbread died over the last year.
The Hadaways and their dog, representing Fun Carts of Opelika, sat in a golf cart decked out in colored Christmas lights with two lighted reindeer at the front, ready to participate for their fifth year or so. Kristina wore an elf hat while Sammy wore a Santa hat that had printed on it, “I’ve been good.”
“A little bit each year we add to it,” Kristina said. This year they added a device that shines light onto the ground as well as another ring of lights along the top of the cart that complement the decorative icicles hanging from the roof’s edges.
The trio drove through downtown along with a host of other parade participants — including the Grinch, Buddy the Elf and Aubie — Thursday evening in the city’s annual parade, which the Auburn Chamber of Commerce has hosted since 1964. Jennifer Fincher with the Chamber of Commerce said while it's difficult to get an accurate headcount, thousands were expected to line the parade's route.
The Auburn Tree Commission handed out dogwood and redbud trees to the parade audience, which it does in hopes fulfilling one of the tree commission’s missions.
“We do this every year, and we hope that the people will take them home and plant them and put them in the ground,” said Paul Schrantz, chairman of the Auburn Tree Commission.
People took not only some trees home, but candy, fliers and even toilet plungers that were given out throughout the parade. Families lined the streets wearing matching Christmas hats, and children jumped at any opportunity to snag some candy.
Melissa Dunn, who works with the First Year Experience at Auburn University, brought her 6-year-old son Cooper and his friends out to see the parade, an event she’s attended for several years.
She used to watch and perform in Christmas parades in her hometown of Enterprise, which is one of the reasons she brings her son out to see them — to show him what the experience is like.
“It’s just the small-town feel, and it kicks off the holiday season,” she said. “And it’s fun to see their excitement and see friends in the parade too.”