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Harrisburg Christmas parade wows crowd

  • Wilma Simpson of Harrisburg, the Grand Marshal of the lights parade, is escorted by her daughter Beth Montfort at the beginning of the parade.

    Wilma Simpson of Harrisburg, the Grand Marshal of the lights parade, is escorted by her daughter Beth Montfort at the beginning of the parade.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • A float honoring American servicemembers and veterans is driven by Saline County Board member Casey Perkins. The float received standing ovations throughout the parade route.

    A float honoring American servicemembers and veterans is driven by Saline County Board member Casey Perkins. The float received standing ovations throughout the parade route.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Lewis Mobile Welding's float featured a high-energy band, bright red lighting and fog effects, plus The Grinch serving as drummer.

    Lewis Mobile Welding's float featured a high-energy band, bright red lighting and fog effects, plus The Grinch serving as drummer.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Dave Mallady drives his festive modified race car during the parade.

    Dave Mallady drives his festive modified race car during the parade.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO


  • TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus, joined by Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek, wave at the crowd.

    Santa and Mrs. Claus, joined by Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek, wave at the crowd.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • KO Farms' Christmas Vacation-themed float drew laughs of appreciation from the crowd.

    KO Farms' Christmas Vacation-themed float drew laughs of appreciation from the crowd.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Wayman Winters drives his float for Pickford's Flowers.

    Wayman Winters drives his float for Pickford's Flowers.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Stephanie McCarty drives her vehicle for her business, The Horse Shack.

    Stephanie McCarty drives her vehicle for her business, The Horse Shack.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO


  • TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO


  • TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Aaron McCarty drives his military truck in the lights parade for The Horse Shack.

    Aaron McCarty drives his military truck in the lights parade for The Horse Shack.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • First Baptist Church of Harrisburg's float featured a live band.

    First Baptist Church of Harrisburg's float featured a live band.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO


  • TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Wes Sherrod's float entry.

    Wes Sherrod's float entry.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Wes Sherrod waves as his float for Sherrod's Collision Center passes through the parade.

    Wes Sherrod waves as his float for Sherrod's Collision Center passes through the parade.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Perennial favorite, The Grinch, drives his car in the parade, encouraging people to "Be Naughty. Save Santa the trip."

    Perennial favorite, The Grinch, drives his car in the parade, encouraging people to "Be Naughty. Save Santa the trip."
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
updated: 12/16/2020 3:47 PM

HARRISBURG -- Of the many events canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, Harrisburg's annual Christmas lights parade wasn't one of them, thrilling viewers Thursday night.

"This is something we look forward to every year," Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek said. "We get floats from all over in this parade."

Harrisburg resident Wilma Simpson was the parade Grand Marshal, escorted by her daughter Beth Montfort at the front of the parade.

McPeek said care was taken to ensure parade entries were spaced away from one another in light of social distancing concerns.

In addition, those watching the parade were reminded to stay spread apart and wear face coverings.

The parade is an event that lends itself to a safe environment, City Economic Development Director Alex Watkins said.

"Because of the colder weather, a lot of folks watch from their houses if they're on the parade route, or they park their cars and watch from there," Watkins said. "Plus, people don't tend to bunch up as much along the street. They stay in their own little groups anyway."

The traditional visit with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus at the end of the parade route was changed to keep a large group of people in a congregated area, McPeek said. It was replaced with an earlier, socially distanced visit with the Clauses at the city courtyard.

"It's been a little different this year, but everyone's been able to accommodate," McPeek said.