December 10, 2012

Hatteras Christmas parade draws big crowd,
showcases proud community


Sometime around 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, the participants in this year’s annual Hatteras Village Christmas Parade donned their gay apparel and began their roughly one-mile tour of the village, spreading candy and Christmas cheer to the hundreds of islanders and visitors who came out to see the show.

It’s one of the most popular holiday celebrations on the island, and though this year’s parade wasn’t the biggest, or probably even the most heavily attended event in recent history, it definitely took home the prize for most beautiful weather.

In past years, cold temperatures, wind, rain, and fog have plagued the parade, and they threatened to do so again this year. But by mid-afternoon, the rain and fog that had grayed the early morning dissipated, giving way to blue skies, abundant sunshine, and practically balmy temperatures.

This year’s parade featured about 35 entries, and, as usual, parade-goers were treated to a variety of entertainment.

There were vintage cars and decorated golf-carts. There were people on horseback and people on Harleys. There were decked-out floats, dressed-up boats, and fire trucks from each of the island’s volunteer fire departments.

The students in Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies’ award-winning marching band played a medley of Christmas standards, and, of course, kids both young and old waved, cheered, and scrambled to collect the pieces of candy tossed by merry participants as they passed by in their festive rides. 

This year’s parade entrants were judged by Buddy and Anne Swain and Clifford and Billie Swain, all of Hatteras village. Cash prizes of $250 were awarded for the most spirited, most comical, and most creative entries. In addition, three $50 prizes were awarded to the top three children’s entries.

After the parade, entrants and parade-goers gathered at the Hatteras village firehouse, where the village’s civic association served refreshments, while the judges deliberated. After a short wait, Jon Kelmer climbed atop a fire truck and announced the winners and civic association president Dennis Robinson handed out the prizes.

In the children’s contest, the winners were The Munchkin Kids, the Girl Scouts, and the Cape Hatteras Secondary School middle-school cheerleaders.

In the adult division, April Webster and Terry Cartwright won the prize for most spirit with their golf carts enclosed as a Christmas cottage with the theme that “Christmas is merrier under a Carolina moo". They towed a stack of gaily decorated crab pots. Midgett Realty’s nautical sleigh, pulled by eight brightly colored sea horses, took home the prize for most comical.

And for the fifth year in a row, the Dune Billy Queens—represented by Mary Ellon Ballance, Nicole Jeanette, and Hali Easley, of Creative Ballance Salon in Hatteras—earned one of the top prizes. This year, their “Miami or Bust” float won them the prize for most creative. It also served as their official “retirement cruise,” since Ballance announced that this would be the group’s final entry.

In the end, it was a great way to usher in the 2012 Christmas season. And while the parade was entertaining and the weather was absolutely gorgeous, the real star of this year’s celebration was the community itself.

Many of those who live along Highway 12 opened their doors and their lawns, offering food, drinks, and friendly company to their fellow parade-goers. In addition, there were several floats that were as community-themed and philanthropically-minded as they were festive.

Some floats—like the local Girl Scouts’, which was decorated with “high water” and “emergency ferry” road signs, and the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation’s, which featured a tinseled backhoe and the slogan, “We don’t dig cancer”—offered a playful nod to the obstacles the island community has overcome this year.

Other floats, like the Cape Hatteras Secondary School DECA club’s, honored the Christmas spirit by encouraging onlookers to donate to “Jackets for Jersey,” a philanthropic initiative aimed at providing outerwear to still-struggling victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.

Perhaps the best demonstration of community support and Christmas spirit came at the end of the event, when all the groups that won a prize in the adult division immediately donated their winnings to local charities and organizations.

Cartwright and Webster donated their prize to Cape Hatteras Secondary School varsity cheerleaders, Midgett Realty donated theirs to the Hatteras Island Food Pantry, and the Dune Billy Queens donated their money to the sixth-grade class at the secondary school, which has worked all year to raise funds for a class trip to Washington, D.C.

Robinson said that he was thankful for all those who participated in this year’s event. “We are extremely happy to have this much community support.”


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