Anderson prepares for first Christmas parade in 50 years
By Kevin Rader, WTHR political reporter - bio | email
Anderson officials will restore decades-old Christmas ornaments for the parade.
The city of Anderson is getting ready for its first Christmas parade in over 50 years on November 22.
The Christmas spirit is leading the city to find a lot of other things as well.
The parade has its roots in a very unusual location on West 8th Street in downtown Anderson.
Every journey starts with a first step. When 71-year-old Paul Bickle heard the city of Anderson had decided to bring back its Christmas parade, he remembered what he had upstairs.
He had an attic full of old Christmas decorations dating back to the 1950s. One of them is now hanging outside the Anderson City Hall, the rest are in the process of being restored - a sign of things to come.
"I have never been to a Christmas parade in Anderson. I remember the Shriners parades and that is about it," 51-year-old Julie Wood observed as she and her mother Mary enjoyed lunch at Toast in downtown Anderson.
They are both so excited about Anderson's decision to bring back the Christmas parade for the first time in over 50 years.
"I think it is fantastic. Anderson has lost so much and that is one way to bring back the fever," Mary added.
"Threw the idea out there and it was really very well received by the public. The level of participation we have had is just really wonderful. Not only businesses, but individuals who want to be part of a Christmas parade," Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said.
Levi Rinker is serving as Anderson's in-house Christmas elf of sorts, busy building milk and cookie stands and Santa's chair.
"Right now, we need to add the lighting for them so each stand will have a full lighting panel to go through the night," Rinker said.
He's not worried about a quick-approaching deadline.
"We work best under pressure," Rinker exclaimed in his art studio located in an old abandoned elementary school.
The exciting thing in Anderson is that the decorations from Christmas past will now play a big part of the city's Christmas future.