Community Christmas spirit on display at parade




Parade-goers Saturday night in downtown Garden City searched for the darkest spot along Main Street to view the annual lighted Christmas Parade.

But perhaps the best spot to watch from was a railing on the old Windsor Hotel, where an owl landed, looked down and watched the spectacle of it all.

Lighted semi-trucks, motorcycles, emergency vehicles, old fashioned vehicles, carriages, and floats with singers and dancers gave quite the audio and visual display along Main Street.

Kali Maxfield stood in front of the Windsor Hotel with her daughters, Harley Hardy, 4, and Kiana Maxfield, 14.

Kiana's favorite part of the parade was the carousel, and when asked what Harley's favorite was, she said, "Mallory."

"My two daughters are in the parade," Kali said.

Mallory Maxfield, 6, was in the Edith Scheuerman Elementary School sign choir. Madison Maxfield, 12, marched with the Junior Leadership Corps from Horace Good Middle School.

Kali said the event was fun for the whole family.

"I just think it's neat how the community puts things together like this," she said.

The girls had a fun evening downtown.

"Usually, I'm at work during this," Kali said.

Harley said she got to see Santa Claus and said she wants Dora the Explorer for Christmas this year.

Beverly Schmitz Glass, Downtown Vision director, said there was a steady stream of people downtown between Tuba Christmas and the parade. Downtown Vision organized the parade.

"Once the wind died down, the people came out and it wasn't too unbearable," she said.

Schmitz Glass said parade watchers were lined up five to seven deep.

And this year's parade grew from the last, she said.

"We had a record setting 50 entries this year, up from 36 in 2011. We had seven more floats than last year, too," she said.

The 13th annual Christmas Parade was sponsored by Burtis Motors.

Fundraising groups sold hot chocolate and goodies during the parade.

A trio of 15-year-olds — Miranda Harris, Christy Kitavarada and Claudia Castro — sold sugar cookies, popcorn and hot chocolate as part of a fundraiser for Pierceville Federated Church. The youth plan to use the money for a ski trip over Christmas break.

The girls said selling goodies and visiting with everyone at the parade is fun.

"I just like talking to people, telling them 'Merry Christmas' and telling them about Jesus. We're handing out slips with a Bible verse on them. It's just good to spread the word about Jesus," Miranda said.

Christy agreed.

"For me, it's greeting everyone and telling them about our church," Kitavarada said.

Claudia said she likes to see people's reactions during the parade.

"I like just spreading some holiday cheer and seeing everyone's faces lighting up during the parade," she said.

Following the parade, people gathered in Stevens Park for the Mennonite Choir concert and hot chocolate.

City Commissioner John Doll enjoyed the music and hot chocolate.

"Oh, the parade was beautiful. The turnout was amazing. It was a type of event that makes Garden City what it is today — the greatest city in western Kansas. This just gives people something to do. What a great family atmosphere. That's what Garden City is all about," he said.

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