Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jim Yancy was decked out as Santa leading the motor unit in circles down Newberry Road Saturday evening as a couple of hundred residents and visitors lined the streets for the annual holiday parade.
The bikes put on a dizzying display with lights and sirens as they zoomed up and down the street and then making circles. They were followed by the ACSO Honor Guard with members Richard Roberts and Michael McClenton.
Kids and their families waited on sidewalks with empty bags knowing that candy would soon come flying. And it did.
High Springs Police Department and junior cadets marched in uniform with bonus red Santa hats, the Newberry High School (NHS) marching band played “Joy to the World,” and that rascally elf, aka Newberry Commissioner Tony Mazon, was running candy out to the kids while U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack was trying to catch him as he was the designated Elf on the Shelf.
Local businesses such as Bosshardt Realty Services, RPM Auto, Cricket Wireless, and the City of Newberry’s Fire Department drove vehicles carrying precious cargo.
The NHS cheer squad passed under the overhead railroad crossing signs almost close enough to touch. They sat atop of the Newberry’s Quint 28 firetruck waving pom poms.
Mayor Jordan Marlowe was chauffeuring Mazon with Commissioner Rick Coleman riding along.
Close by in the lineup which stretched three quarters of a mile along Newberry Road and lasted almost an hour, were commissioners Tim Marden and Monty Farnsworth tossing treats from atop of Fire Engine No. 28.
Kids scrambled for the candy and waved to their friends riding on Girl Scout Troop 2092 and Newberry 4-H floats.
Church of Christ Pastor Jesse Carter teamed up with the Produce Place and handed out hundreds of stuffed animals to kids.
The Grinch was looking mean and pointing at parade goers while he drove along on a lawn mower tugging a train filled with kids behind him.
And Mr. and Mrs. Clause were last but not least at the end of the line of dozens of parade participants. They were riding in an antique red pickup truck.
The parade was organized by Kathi Thomas, who also sets up the annual Newberry Watermelon Festival parade, and Marlowe agreed that the 2021 Christmas parade might be the longest in history. “I would say so!” he commented via text later that evening.
Newberry had more than a parade this year with dozens of households and businesses entering the second annual Light Up Newberry contest.
Marlowe announced the winners on his Facebook page on Sunday.
“Drum roll, please,” he wrote.
“In the Business Front category: 3rd place goes to Glanzer Realty! 2nd place goes to Newberry Ace Hardware! And, 1st place goes to Bosshardt Realty Services!
“In the Business Window category: 3rd place goes to Sugar, Refined.! 2nd place goes to Rebecca’s Hair Studio! And 1st place goes to Reclaimed Beauty & Pain Solutions Massage!
“Finally, in the Residential category: 3rd place goes to Jason and Haley Ryan! 2nd place goes to Logan Euler! And, our 1st place resident, lighting up the neighborhood and our town, goes to Shawn and Angie Walker!!!
“Thank you, everyone for participating, and I can’t wait until next year!!!”