11/18/12 — Seven Springs hosts first-of-the-year parade

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Seven Springs hosts first-of-the-year parade

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 18, 2012 1:50 AM

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Members of Dalys Chapel Free Will Baptist Church wave to the crowd during the Annual Seven Springs Christmas Parade.

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Santa Claus made a special stop at the parade, which is the first of the holiday marches in Wayne County.

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Mattie Staps was all decked out in her bright red-and-green Christmas outfit Saturday afternoon waiting for the Seven Springs Christmas Parade -- the first of the Yule season -- to step off.

But instead of waiting on the float she was supposed to ride on, the 7-year-old was rocking on a rail. Her brother Jalen, 10, had already found his spot on the float.

"She was supposed to be on the church float, but she is not feeling well so we are waiting for it to come by here for her to get on," said her mother, Sherry Staps.

Mattie was not going to miss her chance to welcome in the holiday season.

After all, she is a parade veteran, her mother said.

"Her daddy (Max Staps) got (the outfit) for her, and she was so excited," Mrs. Staps said. "She has been in (the parade) for six years. When she was a baby, I held her on the float."

Mrs. Staps and Mattie said they enjoyed riding on the float, and still had a chance to enjoy watching part of the parade.

"Because (the town) is so small the parade wraps around, so we jump off the float and run back around and watch the end of it," Mrs. Staps said. "So she still gets some candy. I love my small town. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

Mattie wasn't the only one interested in the handfuls of candy being tossed from the floats.

Children lining the streets darted around grabbing treats.

Jerry Lucas, 5, said he wanted the candy for him and his sister, if it didn't fall into one of the small puddles next to the street.

Jerry was sitting next to his dad, Jeremy Lucas of Goldsboro, as they waited for the parade to get under way.

"We are just here to see all of this stuff and to see my sister," Jerry said.

His sister, 8-year-old Courtney, Little Miss N.C. Heartland, was on one of the floats.

Of course, Jerry wanted to see Santa, and said that he thought he had been good enough to get all of the "police stuff" he wanted for Christmas.

"One is a dart gun that has bullets that light up," he said. "It is a Nerf gun."

"I have been to a lot of parades including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City," Lucas said. "My high school took our senior trip there."

Ronda Hughes, owner of Neuse River Trading, and one of the parade organizers, said that the parade had 70 confirmed entries and that more had shown up before the march started.

"It is way more than last year even on a cold day," she said. "We did a lot of calling, asking people to be in it. People called us a lot about wanting to be in it, too."

The town will continue its holiday spirit this Saturday at 6 p.m. with its first Trim-the-Tree at town hall.

People are being asked to bring a Christmas ornament in memory, in honor or in recognition of a loved one, she said. Ornaments also will be available for people to decorate and to hang on the tree. Light refreshments will be served.

"We have had a really good response and 10 local businesses have donated the tree," Ms. Hughes said.

For more information about the project, call Ms. Hughes at 919-222-9290.