Christmas parades into Bath

Published 1:13 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little spectators look on the parade of wreath-bedecked fire engines on Sunday afternoon during Bath’s annual Christmas parade. (WDN Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)

They came from Pantego, from Belhaven and Greenville. They set up camps with lawn chairs and open tailgates, lining the long stretch of Carteret Street, the crowd making the turn beneath the stoplight onto Main Street in Bath. They were waiting for the parade.

The Town of Bath’s annual Christmas parade took place beneath a blue sky, on a warm afternoon last Sunday. The mild temperatures meant T-shirts were juxtaposed with bright red Santa hats, and drove the multitudes out into the bright sun to watch the hour-long display of floats and vintage cars, antique tractors, and horses.

“There’s always a crowd,” said Belhaven resident John Chrystal, in a Santa hat, a voter registration clipboard in hand. “This is really the parade for the whole county.”

Leading county representation was Sheriff Alan Jordan, tossing candy to the children from the passenger seat of a red–ribbon bedecked Sheriffs Office Dodge Charger, which was followed by a Bath Fire Department fire engine. Behind them, the parade stretched into the distance.

Sitting on the sidelines were Lisa Hackett and her daughters Anna and Morgan, dressed in matching reindeer–antler headbands made of felt.

“This is our second year coming to the Bath parade,” said Lisa Hackett, whose family lives in Greenville.

Around the corner from the Hacketts, Sarah Windley and Betty Whitley, dressed in Christmas-Sunday best, caught candy thrown from the passing floats, and wished all within earshot “Merry Christmas,” as they spread Christmas cheer.

The county may have been well-represented, but the United States were even more so—fifth-graders of Bath Elementary School made a parade-within-a-parade as they wheeled elaborately decorated wagons characterizing each state in the union down the street.

A line of vintage cars, from Bel Airs to Model T’s, gave way to John Deere tractors and a decorated camouflage fishing boat, complete with a camouflaged Santa, the Washington High School marching band and Foxfire Farms’ train of cows (made from barrels), each “cow” bearing a young rider. The Bath Christmas parade rolled along its route for a full hour before drawing to a close, leaving the residents of Beaufort County one parade closer to Christmas.