Bath’s parade tradition continues Sunday

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

By Staff
Christmas celebration honors veterans, military
Lifestyles &Features Editor
BATH — Folks started lining the parade route in Bath well over an hour early because they didn’t want to miss the show Sunday afternoon.
And what a show it was.
The town’s much anticipated Christmas parade featured between 175 and 180 entries, according to Nelda Ormond, who serves on the event’s planning committee along with Claudia Alligood, Jean Bowen and Gordon Pippin.
With the theme of “God Bless America,” the parade was a salute to veterans and the military as well as a celebration of Christmas. More than 50 veterans took part in the parade, joining local military personnel and members of the Second Marine Aircraft Wing Band from Cherry Point, according to Ormond.
While a small committee oversees the project each year, countless volunteers and sponsors assist with the parade, according to Ormond. And on a day when the town’s population swells to several thousands, every pair of hands is a help.
The parade has come a long way since the early days when it consisted of Santa Claus arriving in town on a fire truck from the Bath Volunteer Fire Department.
This year’s procession included fire and rescue personnel from throughout the Beaufort County area, elected officials, classic automobiles and tractors, church and civic groups, local Scout troops, school students and beauty queens.
Among the latter were Deanna Randalls, Little Miss Independence; Ashley Clayton, Miss Independence; and Kimberly Clayton, Miss Engelhard Seafood Festival.
Faced with the task of choosing winning entries this year were parade judges Jane Capps, John Phelps, Lyle Williams and Jimmy Edwards. Judging the classic automobile category was Tommy Respess.
Among churches, Shiloh Free Will Baptist Church was awarded the first place ribbon, followed by Woodard’s Pond Church of Christ and St. Clair’s Church of Christ.
The Bath Elementary School cheerleaders received first place among school entries, and the Future Business Leaders of America organization from Northside High School was the other winner in that category.
Bath High School Preservation was the judges’ choice for first place among the civic floats. Second place went to the Grinch, while Goose Creek State Park was third.
Awards for best classic automobiles went to Richie Alligood of Washington for his 1968 “General Lee” Challenger and to Danny McLawhorn of Ayden for a 1930 Ford pick-up truck.