The Christmas Parade – Tradition in Small Town America

Toy Soldiers on Parade

In small towns across America, the weekend after Thanksgiving means more than Black Friday shopping – it’s time for the Christmas Parade! I don’t live in a small town any more, but our parents live in or near small towns in Southern Ohio so some years we get to participate in the fun.  This year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving we were in Mt. Orab Village, an Ohio town with a population of approximately 3,000, located 37 miles east of Cincinnati.

Small town parades vary by location but the main elements are the same.   As start time approaches the kids get excited, clutching their empty candy bags, hoping to fill them by parade end with goodies thrown from floats. Adults check their cameras to make sure they are ready for the big moment when their child passes by in the band or on a float.

So come to the parade with me!  (Click on any photo to see a slightly larger version.)

All small town parades start with a police escort – this gets the crowd excited!  The parade has started.

The excitement builds...

Then the usual elements pass by including:

The Color Guard - High School ROTC squad

The Grand Marshall in a fancy car

Bands – remember, small towns equal small bands, but the music and is big!

Western Brown HS

Eastern HS

Fayetteville HS

Characters passing out candy to the kiddies


Scrooge, The Grinch, Snowman

Cute kids passing out candy

Floats of all kinds, churches, clubs, civic groups, businesses

Boys Scouts - very creative!

Letters to Santa - Insurance company float

Charlie Brown and the gang

Mrs. Claus on the Lions Club float

Heavy equipment and other local business and service vehicles

Local John Deere dealer

..and the Bobcat dealer

Even a Rumpke Truck! All cleaned up of course...

Horses – thankfully, usually near the end (take it from me, a former marching band member who has had to dodge one too many horse patties)

Old fashioned Kroger grocery wagon

Mountain Man

Big horses pull a big wagon

An elegant lady in an elegant cart

Lovely horse and carriage

Pony cart pulling an Angel

And of course, Santa Claus signals the end of the parade and the start of the Christmas season.

.. pulled not by 8 tiny reindeer but by 6 tiny ponies!

All parades are important in the life of a small town, but the Christmas parade is always the most exciting.  They bring people into town, hopefully to shop and eat, always to visit.  It’s fun for the participants and the viewers.  I know we had a blast!

Note that this is not the whole parade – there were lots of participants and it was well attended.  We were at the end where there were not many viewers but uptown the sidewalks were crowded.

Does your small town have a Christmas parade?  What unique element is in your parade?

About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
This entry was posted in Holidays, Ohio, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Christmas Parade – Tradition in Small Town America

  1. Davie County says:

    I enjoyed your article… it inspired me to write a poem about our parade at which I think you might enjoy.


  2. Nice narrative Sally! Reminds me of the time I was part of a dragon float during a Halloween Parade in small town New Jersey!

    • SallyK says:

      Thanks Kolman! I never got to ride on a float but I marched with our HS band in every parade in south central Ohio from 1971 to 1975 – playing a trombone! Always a fun time. I love how each town’s heavy equipment contingent varies – in one town all the local logging trucks brought up the rear.

Don't be shy, speak up!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s