The streets exploded with festive music and cheering as the city of Opelika began the holiday season with their annual Christmas parade on Saturday.
The parade route weaved through the streets of downtown Opelika, and spectators lined the sidewalks to watch the floats pass by.
With about 80 floats ranging from local businesses and organizations to high school bands and cheerleaders, the area was filled with participants and attendees. All floats adhered to the parade’s theme, “Christmas Showcase: A Fun Tribute.”
This year’s parade made history as the first city parade featuring a float sponsored by an LGBTQ organization. Pride On The Plains, a non-profit group based in the Auburn-Opelika area, was happy to be included in the festivities.
“We’re so excited to be here, and we’re excited that everyone has been so accepting of us,” said Chad Peacock, president of Pride On The Plains. “We fight negativity with positivity, and we fight ignorance with love, and we’re here to celebrate Christmas just like everybody else.”
Pride on the Plains had over 50 attendees march with their float. Their float was among many others that were covered with festive decorations and accompanied by cheerful music.
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Opelika Utilities showcased a float inspired by the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The float featured a replica of the Griswold family’s home covered in lights and a large squirrel with a moving tail at the front.
According to Opelika Utilities employee Andy Alsobrook, the float took about two months to make.
“We vote on our theme every year and try to stay with the theme of the parade,” Alsobrook said.
Some of the parade’s most excited participants and spectators were children getting ready for the holidays. Many of the floats were filled with children waving to their friends on the sidewalks.
Local Girl Scout troops 7230 and 7238 shared a float that was filled with girls from preschool to high school ages. According to troop leader Monica Frazier, they have been participants in the parade for about 12 years, and the members look forward to the event each year.
“I like saying 'Merry Christmas' to everybody, throwing them candy and just having fun,” said Isabelle McDonald, a Cadette-level Girl Scout.
After over an hour of music, candy and holiday cheer, the parade ended with Santa Claus riding through town on an Opelika Fire Department Truck, marking the beginning of the holiday season.
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