Thousands cheer parades around Wayne County area
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 2, 2007 2:15 AM
Elizabeth Bynum, 8, and younger sister Helen-Anne sat on their multi-colored blankets at the start of the Goldsboro Christmas parade route on South Center Street Saturday afternoon, watching intently as each entry passed by.
Waiting patiently to see brother Darden's Indian Guide troop, they politely waved and commented on sights that particularly sparked an interest.
"Look, Grandmama! She has a crown on," Helen-Anne said as a convertible approached with one of the parade's many beauty queens. "She's a princess."
In addition to their grandmother, Betty Daughtry, mom Carol Bynum was also nearby.
Mrs. Daughtry said the parade has become a "real tradition" for them, stirring up many fond memories from previous years.
"I used to bring my girls down to the parade. We'd always go to Robinsons' Drug Store afterwards and get hot chocolate. We did it every year," she said, adding that in her youth, she had been "in the Goldsboro High School band and carried the high school flag, so I marched in all these parades."
Lynne Fulghum of Mount Olive also recalled coming to the annual event as a child.
"I can remember coming when we were little, sitting at the Candy Kitchen drinking cocoa and then we'd come out when the parade started," she said.
This year, she was part of a multi-generation family clustered around the tailgate of a pick-up truck brother-in-law Curt Russell parked on Center Street around 2:15 so they'd have a place to sit during the parade.
The family group consisted of Georgia Mae Jackson, 89, daughter Gloria Johnson and husband Eric, and granddaughters Sheri Russell, Curt's wife, all of Goldsboro, and Lynne with husband George.
The great-grandchildren Oscar Russell, 5, and 3-year-old Georgia Fulghum, shared some popcorn while waiting for things to get under way.
The Fulghums had already enjoyed the Mount Olive parade earlier in the day, with their daughter participating with Mrs. Robin's Academy of Dance.
"There were 147 floats in that parade," Fulghum said.
Helen Monk of Newton Grove had also attended a parade earlier in the day in her hometown, but decided to bring daughters Bri and Tri, along with Rockelle Robinson of Goldsboro and her daughter, Justus, to the afternoon parade.
Ms. Monk said it was her first time seeing Goldsboro's version, and she was looking forward to "just the excitement, seeing the bands and the clowns."
Patricia Burden, principal of Goldsboro High School, said she arrived early to get a good spot, pulling into a parking space on Center Street around 2:45 with her mother, Dorothy Boone. Coincidentally, close family friends Shirley and Arthur Raiford parked right next to them.
"We thought they were out of town," Mrs. Boone said, noting that they would have all ridden together if they'd realized beforehand.
Mrs. Boone said she anxiously awaited seeing the majorettes.
"I used to be a majorette," she said.
For Ms. Burden, the holiday parade signals the start of the most wonderful time of the year.
"I'm looking forward to the beginning of the Christmas season," she said. "Just a good time and to see kids seeing Santa Claus, and I'm here to support our drill team, Jr. ROTC program and band program."
Bobby and Gloria Herring of Dudley carried matching canes, decorated in red, white and blue.
Mrs. Herring said she enjoys the music that accompanies a parade.
The "bands and old cars" appeal to her husband, who added, "I like to watch the different schools and the veterans when they come through."
Jerry Rouse picked his spot carefully when he arrived more than an hour before the parade was scheduled to begin. Then he and daughters Jeri, Mercedes and Shaniqua spent their time waiting, watching and walking around browsing in the stores and enjoying candy apples.
"We're here to see my other daughter," Rouse said. Danielle, 9, was participating with her school, Carver Heights Elementary, he said, and the family "came just to look and wanted to hang out and see their sister."
Fathers hoisting children onto their shoulders for a better view, others bundled up as the sun began to dip and the temperatures dropped, but for the nearly 1,000 in the crowd lining the downtown streets where the parade winded for more than an hour, it was all about the guaranteed sights -- fire trucks and floats, church groups and characters, color guards and carolers, and of course, Santa Claus.
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