12/02/12 — Mount Olive Christmas Parade

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Mount Olive Christmas Parade

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 2, 2012 1:50 AM

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Santa Claus waves as his sleigh travels down Breazeale Avenue Saturday morning during the Mount Olive Christmas Parade. Sitting with him is Kiara Kornegay, whose name was drawn during the town's open house and tree lighting event. She rode as his special guest.

Breazeale Avenue was lined with hundreds of people Saturday morning as the Mount Olive Christmas Parade passed through, most accompanying children they cautiously eyed as they clamored for candy on the pavement.

But perched on the tailgate of an SUV, Susan Wiley had little competition for the candy tossed in front of her and her friends, fetching and storing it in the SUV beside Pat Battle.

As Elliott Turner and his son, Raiford, came by on the Boy Scout Pack 10 float -- a large trailer filled with Scouts throwing candy at the women's feet -- they saw someone they recognized and began shouting her name, "Mrs. Henderson."

Nancy Henderson, a teacher at Meadow Lane, looked up and waved as the children began heaving candy in her direction.

Mrs. Battle's sister, Melba Royal, said Mrs. Wiley enjoys getting the candy, so they don't fight her for it.

Plus she shares.

"She distributes it well," Mrs. Royal said from her chair next to Shiril Worrell.

Mrs. Royal's son, and Mrs. Worrell's godson, Shawn, was on the drumline performing in the Eastern Wayne High Marching Band, but the five friends said they would be there regardless.

For as long as they can remember, this is how they have ushered in the holiday season -- together.

"I've been coming to the parade all my life," Mrs. Battle said. "It's how I get into the Christmas spirit."

Despite busy lives filled with children and the stress of the holidays, the friends have set aside the Mount Olive Christmas Parade as a time to come together and catch up.

They sing and dance as a float passes by blaring "Feliz Navidad" -- even if they don't know all the words.

It's not the last stop for the girls according to Mrs. Royal, a self-described "parade chaser." Several planned to visit Fremont and Goldsboro for their respective parades.

The Turners said they planned to be there, too.

Turner said his work with the Boy Scouts allowed him to be closer with his son, and it has become a tradition for the two to bring in the holiday season atop a float full of Scouts -- together.