12/08/13 — Santa Claus comes to town

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Santa Claus comes to town

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on December 8, 2013 1:50 AM

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Students from the Dillard Academy Charter School dress up as winter characters during the Goldsboro Christmas parade Saturday.

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Hailee Sauls, 7, of Fremont, left, and sister Megan, 6, scramble for candy tossed from floats during the Fremont Christmas parade Saturday.

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Santa Claus waves from his sleigh during the Mount Olive Christmas parade. The wet, windy and cold weather dampened the spirit of many of those who had planned to march -- and watch -- the annual kickoff to Wayne County's parade day.

The cold, wet and windy weather may have dampened holiday spirits at the Mount Olive Christmas parade Saturday, but by the time it was Fremont and Goldsboro's turns, conditions had improved and people were eager to welcome Santa Claus and the holiday season.

In Mount Olive, though, the parade was not able to escape the wet weather and many of the entrants ended up pulling out.

In Goldsboro, though, spectators lined the streets to watch the bands, floats and cars stream by with participants waving and handing out candy.

Miss Goldsboro 2014 Emily Tucker made the rounds to all three parades Saturday.

"It's been really fun being a part of more than one parade," she said. "Rain or shine we were there."

Ms. Tucker said her favorite thing about the parades was the reaction she received from the children, especially the little girls.

"Seeing the children's faces when we were riding by them, they look up to you and that is so awesome," she said.

In Goldsboro, after making her way to the end of the parade route, Ms. Tucker swung back around to watch the judging across from City Hall on Center Street.

Taking first place was the Center Stage Theatre float followed by Stovall Family Dentistry and the Wayne Child Development Center floats.

Despite the cold Saturday evening, Jessica Ortiz brought her sons Daylan, 7, and Isaiah, 5, to the parade, which started at 4 p.m.

"It's a tradition, we go to a parade every year and we didn't make it down to Mount Olive today so we came here," she said.

Mary Greene brought her children to see three of their siblings in the parade, mostly in the bands.

"I am out here in the cold to see my babies doing what they're doing," she said. "A lot of parents aren't supportive of these things but they are important. The other kids are having a lot of fun with it. They all play instruments. They have the love for music."

Daughters Andreah and Shayla were dancing to the music from the band and the Goldsboro Police Department gang education truck.

"I'm so glad we didn't push it to the rain date," Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kate Daniels said. "We're really chilly but it turned into a beautiful afternoon."

There were 136 floats in the parade Saturday, a jump from 111 last year.

"We're so fortunate for the people that jumped in an came out to continue this tradition," Mrs. Daniels said. "What a wonderful way to get in the Christmas spirit."

Ted and Kristin Acorn brought their sons Teddy, 6, and Owen, 4, to see the parade, -- and more specifically to see Santa.

Teddy asked Santa for a Power Rangers sword and a LeapPad educational tablet for Christmas.

His brother Owen said he wanted a race track with a car, but the car would be a regular car, he said.

Both boys said they had been good enough for toys this year.

Adrien Summers, 3, came to the parade with his mother, Heather, and his friends Keira VanLenten, 4, and her brother Koen, 1.

Adrien said that he wants superheroes for Christmas like Batman, Superman and the Hulk.

He also said his favorite superhero is a Superman car.

Keira is hoping that she'll find some "dolly clothes" under the tree this year.

Koen wants "cars and choo choos" waiting for him Christmas morning.

When asked what kind of toys he wanted, big or small, his sister Keira answered, "I think the little ones will be fine."

The weather was at its warmest during the Fremont Christmas Parade at 1 p.m.

The bands and other floats missing in Mount Olive, which had run at 10 a.m., came out in force for the Fremont parade making the event a success.

Preston Gray, 4, was transfixed by the drummers from the area schools' marching bands during the parades.

No matter how in time he was to the beat, though, he would break away if a Tootsie Roll landed near his feet.

"His favorites are the Tootsie Rolls," his father, Paul Gray, said, pointing to the cup holder in his son's chair full of them. "We always come every year they have it. We're locals and we like it."

Hayden Gray, 8, liked watching the different princesses from the pageants streaming by in cars or on top of fire trucks.

Her older sister Samantha, 14, said she was excited for the same things as Hayden, except that she was hoping to grab a piece of chocolate from the parade.