Temple was brightened by thousands of lights Monday night as more than 100 holiday parade entries rolled down Adams Avenue.
All of the lights and floats were out in full force to celebrate the 73rd annual Temple Christmas Parade which winds through the city’s downtown every year. Hundreds of residents lined the street, sitting on foldable chairs, bleachers or even the curb, to get a chance to see the annual display of lights.
Before the parade started, the Temple High School Polyfoniks stood in the middle of the street singing Christmas carols in vintage clothes that made them look like they came right out of a Dickens book.
Temple Mayor Tim Davis once again lit a large tree behind the Temple Municipal Building, fake snow and flares shooting out as the lights turned on.
Dr. Bobby Ott, superintendent of the Temple Independent School District, was the parade grand marshal.
While temperatures would dip down into the 40s as the sun set, that didn’t stop many from arriving early to claim the best spots to view the parade.
Lifelong Temple residents Chaundra Mitchan and Julie Garza, who both have been attending the parade for about 30 years each, knew exactly what to expect from the parade, and the best spots to view it from. The two women and their families showed up at 4:15 p.m. to get a spot next to the Temple Public Library overlooking the parade route.
Both women said that they had been attending the parade for as long as they can remember, with their children now participating in the festivities each year as well.
“I was raised in Temple, and in my whole life, this is probably my 30th time coming,” Mitchan said. “I’ve been coming since I was little. My parents used to spoil us. They had a motor home and they would back it up so we could eat, watch TV and go to the restroom.”
For Garza, whose father passed away two years ago, the parade has taken over a whole new meaning for her, and has become a way to honor him.
“(This) was one of my dad’s favorite nights of the year,” Garza said. “He loved the parade so now I really come to support my dad.”
For Larry and Kim Hillegass, this was their second year coming to the parade after they moved to Temple from Round Rock.
While Kim said she is personally prefers living in a big city, the charm of the large-scale Temple light show has won her over to enjoy the celebration.
“It is nice to have that small town feel,” Kim Hillegass said. “I like big towns, I am a big town kind of girl, but I like the small town feeling of the Christmas parades.”