Parade spreads Christmas cheer to community

People from all around lined the streets of Hammond last weekend to get in the Christmas spirit at the Rotary Club of Hammond’s 55th annual Christmas Parade, sponsored by Star Equipment.
Despite the cold and misty weather, young and old alike joined their friends and family on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. to take part in this yearly tradition. This year’s themes are “Christmas at the Movies” as well as “It’s a Southeastern LION UP Christmas” in celebration of the football team’s success this year. The Christmas parade, originally scheduled for 5 p.m., was rescheduled to 10 a.m. due to the Lion’s playoff game that evening.
The parade featured floats from popular motion pictures “Frosty the Snowman”, “The Polar Express” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Floats and vehicles were adorned with Southeastern signs, logos and banners, but some floats opted to combine both of this year’s themes, such as the float “Roomie Meets the Lion King.” Floats threw beads, candy and other toys to the crowd. The parade was wrapped up with Santa riding in his sleigh and an “Options” float, where people could throw back their beads and other items.
Some attendeess showed up to support friends and family in the parade, such as Ian and Braden Madlido, two young boys who recently moved to Ponchatoula from Georgia with their family.
“We came to the parade because our sister is in one of the floats,” said Braden.
Seeing their sister and her sister’s friend was the highlight of the parade for the two brothers. For many people, attending Hammond’s Christmas parade has become a tradition. Each year, for as far back as they can recall, Madeline McAllister of Hammond and her friend Emily Wilson of Ponchatoula have come together to watch the Christmas parade.
“Well, I live [close], so I just love coming to the parade every year. It’s just so happy and you get so much stuff,” said McAllister. “I love when the Options people come by because we always throw back the beads and everything. It’s so much fun.”
“I live in Ponchatoula, but she’s my best friend, so we come in here every year,” said Wilson. “[My favorite part is] getting all the stuff, and then giving some of it back to people because all the kids are happy.”
The Rotary Club of Hammond gave awards for three categories: auto, non-commercial float and commercial float. In the auto category, the winner was Kristy’s Krew, with Louisiana Homecare of Amite coming in second and Hammond Firewood Company and Pike’s Peak Rentals in third. The winner of the non-commercial float category was the Rotary Club of Hammond/Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center float, followed by Judge Grace Bennet Gasaway in second and Frosty’s Friends in third. Star Equipment won the commercial float category, Whitney Bank/Premier Tent came in second and El Agave Mexican Restaurant in third.