Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Carol Perkins: Life's Chapters, Four - Parades and Santa

Previous Chapter: Life's Chapters, Three - My Town at Christmas

By Carol Perkins

Chapter Four brings us to Christmas parades and Santa. Years ago, each county school traditionally entered a float, as well as various school clubs, local civic organizations, churches, and individual families.

The Christmas parade was a "humdinger." Santa usually rode on the fire truck and threw candy to anxious children, who dashed into the street to gather as much as they could without thought of being run over by the following float. Santa moved to a picture-taking location and parents lined up with their children, some of whom were bawling.

The high school marching band led the parade from the parking lot of the high school (before it moved to the hill), up the hill where Jr. Foods once was, around the square, and back to the school.

I mention the hill because that was an obstacle for the tractor or trucks pulling the floats.

Stopping and creeping a few feet at a time strained the drivers, and those riding felt the jerk each start and stop. One year when I was a senior, a jerk ended up with my good friend Judy rolling off the back of the FHA float, taking the decorations with her.

When it didn't come around the square, the waiting sponsors dashed toward the school to find a group of disappointed girls and my friend wrapped in crepe paper. That year the Beta Club float was a group of red "singing poinsettias." A dozen of us rode on our knees with our faces stuck out of red flower petals, singing carols along the way.

Building a float required hours of preparation. Chicken wire was wrapped around the wagon bed, then stuffed with napkins, and sometimes sprayed red or green. If the napkins weren't pushed in the holes tightly, they would fly off along the route. Many teens worked on several floats, going from one barn to another. I am thankful for the adults who volunteered to help us because the memories of working on the floats were more fun than riding on them, especially on my knees.

Small town parades may not have the flair of the Macy's parade, but what they do have is people working somewhere in a barn, fighting the cold, sipping a cup of hot chocolate, and making memories. I'm all about making memories.

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2021-12-10 17:05:02
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.