The downtown streets of Farmington were bursting with Christmas spirit Tuesday evening as people braved the cold temps and blustery winds for the annual Farmington Christmas Parade.

With a theme of "Storybook Christmas," this year’s parade, sponsored by Krekeler Jewelers and hosted by the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, brought a feeling of nostalgia and holiday cheer to those who waited for the evening to unfold.

As parade goers waited anxiously for the arrival of Santa and his lovely bride, the Farmington High School Black Knight Marching Band, led by the Air Force Junior ROTC, set the tone as they stepped off to a familiar medley of age old Christmas carols.

“This is definitely a highlight for us even if it is 36 degrees,” said Elliot Naes, the director of bands. “We are 100 percent full of Christmas spirit. Except for basketball games, this is the last time the band will play so it’s a nice way to end the season.”

For many residents, the parade has become a part of their family Christmas tradition.

“We come to every parade,” said Sandra Smith. “We moved to Farmington from Hillsboro three years ago, but our son lives down here and we have been coming to this parade for a long time.”

Even though this year’s parade featured a real reindeer, elves of all sizes and the occasional Grinch, children of all ages whistled and cheered as old St. Nick and Mrs. Claus made a dramatic entrance on top of a Farmington fire truck, decked out in row after row of Christmas lights and lighted reindeers.

As Santa and Mrs. Claus came down from their perch on the fire truck, children could hardly contain their enthusiasm knowing they were only moments away from visiting with Santa and giving him their list of goodies for him to bring.

The Black Knight Marching Band lined Columbia Street in front of Long Memorial Hall and entertained the audience as Santa and Mrs. Claus climbed the steps of Long Hall and officially opened Winter Wonderland.

The annual Christmas extravaganza, gives Santa temporary lodging during the holiday season so local children can pay him a visit every evening to remind Old St. Nick of their wish list and to view the scale trains.

Before the doors to Winter Wonderland were officially opened, Laura Raymer, director of operations and member engagement for the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, announced the winner of the float competition.

The top two equestrian floats went to Earth’s End and Belgrade State Bank; taking first place in the walking division was Black Knight Marching Band, while Hefner Furniture took first prize for motorized units.

For this year’s float competition, the competition was tough, but first place went to Great Mines with Bryant Restoration a close second.

The final award was presented to Farmington Parks and Recreation for Best in Show.

Winter Wonderland will be open weeknights, Monday through Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 22. For any questions, contact the Farmington Civic Center at 573-756-0900.

The Bonne Terre Christmas Parade will be held at 7 p.m. tonight while the Park Hills-Leadington Christmas Parade takes place Thursday night. 

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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