12/04/05 — Goldsboro Christmas parade held Saturday

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Goldsboro Christmas parade held Saturday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 4, 2005 2:09 AM

Ricardo Owens of Goldsboro positioned his family in their own front-row seats on Center Street for Saturday afternoon's Golds-boro Christmas parade.

Seated in fold-up chairs and huddled under a blanket while wearing hats, gloves, and heavy coats waiting for the parade to begin were his wife Tiffany and children Dyniah, 9, and Jacob, 6.

"Dad picked the spot," Dyniah said.

"Dad always picks the spot," added Jacob, who said he was looking forward to hearing the bands.

Dyniah said her favorites were the "flag girls -- I like the way they dress."

Officer B.J. Gilstrap of Goldsboro police was positioned at the corner of Center and Mulberry streets.

"This is the first year I have been able to actually see the parade," he said.

Officers for crowd and traffic control were to report for duty at 3:15, he said, and be at their posts by 3:30 for the 4 p.m. parade that stepped off at S. Center Street.

Crowds packed Center Street, spilling over to the side streets where the parade route wound. Parking was at a premium and many arrived early to ensure their spot.

Jessica Sides of Greenville called family friends Bryan and Cheryl Powell of Goldsboro on Saturday morning with such a request.

"She called me and asked me to bring my truck and park it downtown by 11," Powell said.

He complied, securing a parking place on Center Street so that when his group later arrived, all they had to do was find the vehicle and pull down the tailgate.

Ms. Sides' daughter Cayleigh Sides, 7, was dressed warmly, showing off her stuffed dog Samantha, also garbed in a hooded sweatshirt for the occasion. Cayleigh said she was waiting for a candy apple or cotton candy from a vendor.

Despite the crisp chill in the air, the crowd waited patiently, many often craning their necks to see what was ahead. Some had the good fortune to observe from upper windows of storefronts along the way.

Floats and decorated vehicles passed slowly through the city streets, as did golf carts and vintage cars. There were convertibles with beauty queens and little princesses, Brownie troops and flatbed trucks with carolers, dance troops and marching bands. Every now and then, there would be a hint of a Christmas song playing.

Standing along Walnut Street waiting to take a picture of his daughter, Helen, Miss Eastern Wayne High School, Phil Baddour braved the chilly weather while wife, Margaret, sat inside her car.

"We actually came and parked Margaret's car about an hour ago," he said.

"It's a great parade. It's always a great parade."

He should know. It's something of a family tradition to attend.

"When my older boys, now 33 and 35, were younger, we'd come right here," he said, pointing to where his father used to operate a soda shop only feet away from where Baddour now stood. "Daddy would bring the truck and we'd park it here in the afternoon before the parade."

The nearly 90-minute parade wrapped up just before some light rain began to pour. But not before Santa Claus made his appearance as part of the grand finale.

At James and Mulberry streets, where Goldsboro police officer Arian Southerland has been stationed for the last six years, he said he was pleased the crowd had thinned out enough so that he could see at least portions of the parade a block away.

"It's a battle between me and the citizens to try to find different ways to get a little closer," he said. "If you come here from 3:30 to 4, you could easily get some action" as people jockey for position.