Crowds converge on Selma for parade, tree lighting

Published 7:13 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

Parade aftermath: Santa Claus sits on a bench at Selma City Hall during the city’s tree lighting ceremony Saturday. Next to him is one of his elves, who is both exhausted from the earlier parade and trying to shade himself from the sunlight. --Tim Reeves

As the first day of December swept over the city, Selma residents flooded Broad Street for the annual Christmas parade. Local marching bands, festive floats, area fire departments and Santa Claus himself paraded through the street bringing smiles and joy to everyone.

Buddy Swift, owner of Swift Drug Co., said watching the annual Christmas parade is his favorite part of the holiday season in Selma.

“We had a great crowd this year,” Swift said, who admired the parade from the front of his drug store on Broad Street. “I always come out and watch it, I don’t think I’ve ever missed one and I’ve been here over 40 years. It’s just a good way to kick off the holiday season.”

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Mike Stokes, chief of the Selma Fire Department, said some of his fondest memories as a child include watching the parade and being a part of the magic of the season.

“I remember as a kid I used to ride in the fire truck in the parade,” Stokes reminisced. “My favorite part of the parade though is just seeing the amount of people that come out and all the community support.”

Brenda Harris, of Safford, was one of the many out-of-towners who came to enjoy the parade Saturday. Harris said it’s something she always looks forward to during the holiday season.

“Concordia College band was my favorite part,” Harris said. “The city did a really good job making the day festive and fun for everyone.”

Although all floats were a success in bringing something special to the parade, it was Wallace Community College SGA that was awarded first place for best float by the Downtown Association.

Following Wallace in the best float contest were Thru the Cross in second and Gateway Baptist Church in third. Concordia College was named best band followed by Southside High School in second.

“We’ve been blessed to have a beautiful day and it’s so wonderful that all these people came out to participate in the program,” said Mayor George Evans.

After the parade, residents gathered in front of City Hall to watch the mayor and his wife light the city Christmas tree.

Concordia College marching band and the City of Selma Christmas Carolers provided everyone with holiday music before the lighting.

“This is the most people I’ve ever seen for the parade and lighting,” Probate Judge Kim Ballard said. “I didn’t see one frown during the parade. I appreciate everyone who came out and made this possible, Merry Christmas to all.”