Belhaven lights up the night

Published 4:17 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2008

By Staff
Event includes firetrucks and local dignitaries
Lifestyles &Features Editor
BELHAVEN — Beaufort County’s only nighttime Christmas parade wowed the crowds Saturday evening during a procession through downtown Belhaven.
The small decline in entries could have been due to a virus that has plagued the town in recent weeks, Allen said.
The parade capped an afternoon of festivities that included musical entertainment, featuring such area performers as bagpiper player Dan Chisholm, guitarist Alton Tisdale, violinist Paula Tisdale and the Vertical Praise gospel choir.
The celebration kicked off at 3 p.m. with a gingerbread house decorating contest sponsored by the chamber of commerce and hosted by the Foxy Scoop ice cream shop. The overall contest winner was Jordan Tyer.
Having a Christmas parade in Belhaven is a long-standing tradition, according to Allen, but it was only four or five years ago that it became a nighttime event.
The floats decked out with colorful holiday lights and decorations add a little something extra to the celebration, Allen said.
This year’s procession featured a convoy of fire departments and rescue squads from surrounding towns as well as several entries touting local businesses. The procession was led by the Air Force Junior ROTC color guard from Northside High School, followed by parade grand marshal Philip Williams, chief meteorologist with WNCT-TV in Greenville.
Local celebrities featured in the line up included Kimberly Clayton, Miss Engelhard Seafood Festival; Deanna Randalls, Little Miss Independence; Ashley Clayton, Miss Independence; and Adam O’Neal, town mayor, who was joined by other elected officials. Gary Dean, the chamber’s new executive director, accompanied his wife, Pam Nuckols, on horseback as Beaufort County’s version of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and no holiday parade would be complete without a visit from Santa.
Presented awards for having the best entries in the parade were Girl Scout Troop 665 of Ponzer, first prize; the Belhaven Yacht Club, second; and The Bowen Company, Business of the Year, third.
Also recognized for their lighted decorations were three big rig trucks in the parade. First prize went to Paul Everette of Harris Trucking of Pungo, while second place was awarded to Adam Ayers of A &E Transport of Pea Ridge. Receiving third prize was Woody Megill of Harris Trucking of Pungo.
Earlier in the evening, judging was held for Belhaven’s “Festival of Lights” decorating competition, which honored the best of the best in homes and businesses.
Betty Lou Waters of 355 Mill Street was the grand winner in the homes category. First place went to John and Rebecca White of 690 Pamlico Street; Jerry Spencer of 370 Washington Street took second prize and third was awarded to Deb Johnson of 417 East Main Street.
In the business category, O’Neal’s Drug Store was the judges’ choice as grand winner. Paul Funeral Home was awarded first prize, Riddick &Windley Ace Hardware was second and Belhaven Medical Supply finished third.