Christmas parade braves cold, rain
The cold and rain didn't dampen the spirits of those who attended Ballinger's annual Christmas parade on Saturday.
The parade kicked off on time under a cold drizzle as the Ballinger Bearcats band led the way. The parade wound from Railroad Avenue to 9th street to Hutchings before it wound its way back to Railroad Avenue. The parade even featured old Saint Nick riding atop Ballinger Fire Department’s Ladder 1 truck. It was a worthy sleigh for the noble Santa, who waved at everyone and offered Christmas greetings.
Members of Ballinger’s Chamber of Commerce visited the vendors to ensure everyone had what they needed to make the day a success. Customers streamed in and out of the stores of local merchants, stopping at the various vendors on their way from one store to the next. Everything jewelry to the requisite homemade jams, jellies, chowchow, leather, home décor, scented candles and many other items were available to Christmas shoppers.
It was a sense of normalcy in a year of unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. According to Carolyn Slaughter, the owner of Curiosities and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the annual event has been around at least 35 years, "I remember it back in 1985. But it started well before that. It used to be at the Runnels County courthouse square. One year the event was canceled so the local merchants got together and decided to set up the next one themselves." The event offered local merchants an opportunity to bring in some much needed revenue. Local businesses have taken the economic brunt of COVID-related shutdowns.
The spirit of Christmas was apparent on the smiling faces of old and young alike as they embraced that spirit. Parents and grandparents held their children's hands as they scrambled for candy tossed about from the floats in the parade. The cold drizzle didn't prevent anyone from enjoying the festivities then getting in some Christmas shopping as raincoats and umbrellas added some color to the cloudy day.
The parade was the 2nd event of the Thanksgiving week, following Tuesday's Midnight Madness shopping extravaganza. The parade was followed by Christmas in Olde Ballinger shopping.