Ellenboro turns out for annual Christmas parade

Dec. 04, 2012 @ 08:27 AM

Crystal Shires is a big fan of all the small town holiday parades in Rutherford County, but says something about Ellenboro’s feels extra special.

“It’s just homier,” Shires said.

With temperatures in the high 60’s, the day was downright balmy. Taking advantage of the pleasant, if breezy weather, most attendees arrived early to pick out a good spot, put out their lawn chairs and let down their tailgates.

More than 70 organizations participated in the Ellenboro parade, led by Grand Marshal Mike Hager, Rutherford County’s district house representative in the North Carolina Assembly.

A line of fire trucks from every municipality in the county, all spotlessly washed and polished, followed shortly behind.

Sharon Holland has been taking her daughter Megan to the parade since she was a baby. Now 20, Megan stood side-by-side with her mother while the two women waved at passing floats and intermittently dashed out to grab pieces of candy – which they promptly handed to a small child standing next to them.

“We love Ellenboro’s parade. It just makes Christmas!” Megan Holland said.

Daisy Ordonez and Aracelis Millan likely traveled the farthest to catch the parade. Hailing all the way from Venezuela, the women were special guests of Rutherford County natives Liz and Sam Blanton, whom they’d met through mission work.

Perched on their hosts’ tailgate and wearing festive red sweaters, the two Venezuelans were excited about seeing a real, hometown USA Christmas parade.

Also decked out for the holidays was Lisa Allard’s little dog Bentley. In full “Santa Paws” costume, the pooch posed for pictures and generally soaked up attention, including numerous pats on the head, from nearby attendees.

Floats representing area businesses, churches and schools flocked by, but perhaps the most common entry in this year’s parade were classic cars and motorcycles.

A “Tea Party Express” buggy rolled by, looking for all the world like the Joad family’s transportation out of Oklahoma. Harley-lovers were in Hog Heaven when a group of Harley Davidson motorcycles appeared, most of which were outfitted with Christmas bells, “antlers” and other holiday trimmings.

Then came the muscle cars – and perhaps the day’s most unexpected moment.

A collective gasp could be heard when flames suddenly appeared from under the hood of a green Camaro, bringing the line of cars and floats behind it to a sudden halt.

But not for long. Dashing out of his car, the driver simply flapped out the flames with a rag and then got back behind the steering wheel. To cheers from the crowd, he resumed driving.

Asked how a car could start up after an engine fire, a nearby police officer shrugged and said, “It was a small fire.”