December 12, 2016

Floats, spirit, and loads of candy reign at 25th Christmas parade


It was a cold but sunny Saturday afternoon for the 25th annual Hatteras Village Christmas Parade, which was a grand celebration befitting the milestone year and the village’s eagerness to return to normal after the one-two punch of Tropical Storm Hermine and Hurricane Matthew.

The stretch of Highway 12 from Teach’s Lair Marina to the Hatterasman was packed with families well before the 2 p.m. start time on Dec. 10. Many folks had smartly placed lawn chairs and Santa hats, and the onlookers who arrived early to get a great view were not disappointed.

Roughly 35 participants were represented at this year’s parade, which included local businesses, community organizations, area volunteer fire departments, government agencies, and much, much, more.

The entire parade lasted less than an hour, with ample brief pauses so that the festive folks onboard a passing float or vehicle could toss out candy and other treasures to the crowds of kids who were happy to collect the goods.

“This is more candy than he got at Halloween,” said one dad whose son had an overflowing Dollar Tree bag by the time the parade had ended. “He is not going to sleep for a week.”

And while the candy, stuffed animals, balls, books, and beads were a big hit with the parade’s youngest visitors, the vast spectrum of vehicles and floats that participated in the parade awed spectators of all ages.

The parade was led by Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie, followed by the vintage Conner’s Supermarket car and the Hatteras Hurricanes marching band, which played a roster of holiday favorites to continual applause. After this first wave of action, the parade steadily breezed by with brightly decked-out fire trucks, several U.S. Coast Guard boats and other vessels, appropriately nautical floats, and many more surprising entries.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Hatteras Village Christmas Parade for many locals is the many ties and nods to our beach landscape, a theme which was very evident this year. The parade entries also included some memorable -- and sometimes poignant -- nods to the village’s recovery after Hurricane Matthew.

One float had an incredibly intricate diorama of the Hatteras Village landscape – complete with sand dunes and a water tower – with a sign on the lead vehicle that read “Our Hatteras Island Christmas Wish: No Flooded Homes.”

Midgett Realty, which ended up winning the grand prize for best float, also got in the recovery spirit with a display that tied together Hatteras village and the popular 2016 movie “Finding Dory,” thanks to the message of “Just Keep Swimming.” Nemo, Dory, and other Pixar characters flanked an orange octopus, whose tentacles were held up by a few helpful scallops.

Other crowd-pleasing participants included Surf or Sound Realty, whose pick-up was almost invisible because of towering clusters of balloons; Hatteras Realty, which boasted a happy snowman enjoying the beach; Floral Creations / Shore Details, which featured a seaworthy gingerbread house / vacation home, and the Girl Scouts, whose snowy float was flanked by hordes of young penguins and snow persons.

Several Cape Hatteras Lighthouses either drove or strolled down the parade route as well, which included a walking lighthouse as part of the National Park Service entry, and an eye-catching lighthouse float bordered by waves from Outer Banks Family Medicine in Avon.

Of course, the parade also had a few entries that showcased the island’s inherent sense of humor, starting with the “Crazy Cat Ladies” of the local organization Friends of Felines, who strutted down Highway 12 in bathrobes and hair rollers, with small stuffed animals affixed to their attire.

The Cape Hatteras Anglers Club also has a fun take on Santa and his sleigh, courtesy of a giant fish ridden by a bikini clad “model,” and the Avon Volunteer Fire Department kept the crowd on its toes with a truck that sporadically spit out big streams of water – which gratefully never landed on the chilly spectators.

Other participants -- such as the Fessenden Center and its teamwork float, the Munchkin Academy and its sleigh, and the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, the Hatteras Island Christian Fellowship, and the Hatteras Island CERT team -- all brought cheers and acclaim from the crowds, for their candy, decorations, and their overwhelming community spirit.

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative trucks, a U.S. Post Office truck, a go-kart piled with presents, two Coast Guard vessels, and a lineup of fire trucks from up and down the island clearly impressed the kids in the crowd, and the parade ended – as it traditionally does – with Santa Claus waving to the crowd from the back of a Hatteras village fire truck.

The entire show only took just a half hour or so, but a number of people commented that it was one of the best parades yet. This was especially true for the youngest spectators, who had acquired full bags of candy and other prizes in just a 30-minute time frame.

After the parade, the spirit of Hatteras village was still wonderfully visible, and awards were given out on a “dais” in front of the Hatteras Village Library that consisted of a somewhat sideways abandoned boat and a sign that read “It Takes a Village.”


First Place: Midgett Realty for its “Hatteras Strong / Just Keep Swimming!” float.
Second Place: The Hatteras Island Girl Scouts for their "Snowy Landscape."
Third Place: Terry and April for their “No Flooding in Hatteras” village landscape.


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