Rosy-cheeked children bundled in quilts and winter coats scrambled for candy thrown by Smokey Bear and watched with awe as Santa Claus rode down Main Street in a horse-drawn wagon Saturday morning during the Bountiful Jaycees Annual Christmas Parade.
"We came to the parade with my sister because she hasn't seen Santa Claus. I came for the candy," said Becky Woodhave, 10, of Centerville.Hundreds of people lined the 19-block parade route from Five Points Mall to Third North on Main Street. People sat in heated cars, on lawn chairs and wrapped in quilts. Gary and Marsha Lyman of Centerville loaded up their five children along with two others from the neighborhood and waited an hour for the parade to arrive.
"I came to see the fire engines and Santa Claus," said one of the children.
For Brock Schlehuber, 3, it was only Santa Claus that compelled him and his parents, Kent and Elaine Schlehuber of Farmington, to wait in the chilly morning air in front of the Bountiful Tabernacle. Santa finally arrived, last in the long procession, flanked by happy, waving children atop an old wagon.
The Christmas parade magic was not just for the young, however. Grandparents Robert and Louise Sward said they wanted to see Santa Claus, too. The couple, who walked from home a block away from Main Street, said even without their grandchildren they enjoyed the parade.
"I get more excited than the kids," Louise Sward said. "If it wasn't for Mom and Dad telling them about Santa Claus, they wouldn't know about him."
Lionel Greene, parade chairman, said that participation by 41 entries made the Christmas parade one of the largest in Bountiful history. Included were floats depicting Christmas themes, drill teams, carolers and local elected officials.
The children of the West Bountiful LDS 1st Ward, for example, sang Christmas songs while other children dressed as the biblical Wise Men, shepherds, Mary and Joseph holding a doll portrayed the birth of Jesus Christ. Madrigals from Woods Cross also shared some Christmas cheer through song as they traveled along the parade route.
Obviously missing from the parade were marching bands, so in their place Bountiful Jaycee Brent Badertscher improvised with a $17 children's one-man-band toy.
"They railroaded me into this and I made the mistake of accepting. At the last minute none of the bands confirmed," he said.
Badertscher, decked out with a plastic hat, toy cymbals, tambourine, drum and rattle, said he got a lot of applause when the crowd found out why he was in the parade. Incidentally, his fellow Jaycees presented him with the "Best Band Award," tongue in cheek of course.
Other parade awards will be decided by the service club later.