HALIFAX — Town of Halifax Mayor John White said it was a difficult decision whether or not to have the Christmas Parade.
“I’m glad we did,” he said to the folks awaiting the tree lighting after the parade. “It’s probably the only one in Halifax County this year, I’m not sure, but I’m glad we were able to do it. I hope everybody enjoyed it and I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving and has a good stress-free holiday season. I want to thank everybody who had a part in putting this together.”
Before the tree-lighting ceremony, a parade of about 20 different featured items strolled down King Street — fire trucks, police cars, antique tractors, cars and horses were met by the audience lining the street, many who ran for the handfuls of candy tossed out by the caravan.
Bob Caudle was there with his grandchildren, Madelyn and Kate.
“They are most interested in whether or not they are going to throw out candy,” Caudle said before the parade. “That is the most important thing.”
One sports car, a black Datsun 280 Z, carried Imani Cooper, Miss Halifax County USA; and the parade featured two Santas.
Lisa Turner came out to watch with her family and friends.
“We figured we have to have Christmas spirit,” she said.
Another featured participant were four members of the Roanoke River Antique Engine and Tractor Club, Caleb Shell, his grandparents, Tom and Dot Shell, and their friend, Carl Taylor. They had four tractors with them, from the 1930s and ‘40s.
“A lot of people have never seen them,” Dot said.
“A lot of people have not seen what they used years ago,” Tom said.
Caleb said they enjoy restoring the old tractors, one coming from Apple Grove, West Virginia, which he worked on during the evenings after work for about three or four months until it was complete.
“We don’t smoke, we don’t drink, we just waste our money on these things,” he said.
Before the parade, Town Clerk Holy Barcelo explained the serious attention to safety the town board put in place, including placing safety stations along the parade route with sanitizers and masks and requiring participants to wear the masks inside their vehicles.
“We are a small town with a fairly small turnout for the parade,” Barcelo said. “We felt we would continue on this year. The board seriously considered canceling it due to tighter restrictions — the last thing we want is for anyone to get sick. We wanted to give a little Christmas cheer to the season — 2020 has been rough and we wanted to give a little happiness.”
After the parade, a small group gathered in the town square for the tree lighting and the singing of a few Christmas carols.