December 15, 2014

Hatteras Village Christmas Parade:
An All-American Treat...WITH SLIDE SHOW


If Norman Rockwell were alive and looking for an all-American Christmas parade to paint, he would come to Hatteras village.

The parade route is perhaps a mile long, not long at all by the standards of most parades, but with families gathering along the entire route, children in Christmas regalia, neighbors greeting neighbors and falling into conversation, the feeling of community is tangible.

The Blue Pelican Gallery, just down the street from Burrus Red & White Supermarket, is handing out hot chocolate and cookies again this year. It seems like that is as much a part of the day’s tradition as the parade itself.

Along the parade route, two little girls who look to be about 10 are walking up one side of the road and then the other, holding up signs that read, “Come and get Homemade Chili - $5 at the Hatteras United Methodist Church. Benefits the Hatteras Community Preschool.”

They’re taking the task of holding up the signs very seriously, although every once in a while, they get engaged in conversation, stop walking, and the signs come down.

It’s a beautiful cool day. There’s a light breeze from the north, wisps of clouds paint a dark blue sky, and there is a moment of silent anticipation just before the parade begins. Then the flashing blue lights of the Dare County Sheriff's Office vehicles appear and the cadence of the drummers in a marching band becomes more distinct.

A drum roll and the Cape Hatteras Secondary School marching band breaks into a medley of Christmas tunes. They’re doing a good job with it. Christmas songs aren’t the easiest to march to, but they’re keeping their lines straight and playing some great music.

The parade is a magical combination of the whimsical, religious, and traditional.

There are fire engines—lots of fire engines. Every Hatteras Island fire company sends a team, and they’re not shy about sounding their sirens, either. Hatteras Island Christian Fellowship recreates the manger scene with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. There are horses marching, courtesy of Buxton Stables.  The Coast Guard float features an accordion player accompanying a very, very good trumpet player.

Candy is everywhere. Certainly all the fire companies are tossing candy to the kids along the route, but it seemed like most of the floats are as well.

Then, riding on top of Hatteras Fire Department Truck No. 1, the big guy—Santa Claus—makes his appearance, waving to kids, laughing and accompanied by a live rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”

This year, for the first time, the parade is being broadcast live on Radio Hatteras, the island's  new and terrific community station. Brothers Cliff and Buddy Swain are seated across from the Red & White and give a wonderful, chatty and informative commentary as the floats and entries pass by.

After the parade, folks gather at the Community Center to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate and hear the news of the winning entries.

The winners, who received $300 each for their efforts, are:

Most Community Spirit: CHHS Marching Band. Well deserved. They sounded fantastic, kept their lines, and played some wonderful music.

Most Creative: Midgett Realty Gingerbread Beach Hut. It wasn’t just the gingerbread house, which may have won all on its own. What really seemed to put this over the top were the dancing, prancing gingerbread cookies following it.

Most Comical. Friends of Felines. Worth a smile and a laugh as women dressed in tutus with reindeer antlers sprouting from their heads and cat masks on their faces march by. An odd conflating of species, but whimsical, comical and fun.

It's a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and all the holidays.


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