They came with their floats, wagons, fire trucks and more as a community joined together once again for the 13th Annual Rock Run Christmas Parade held Saturday, Dec. 21.

This ever-growing, late in the Christmas Season tradition with a route running up and down Cherokee County Road 29 drew some 175-180 entries this year.

Returning for the fifth year in a row was Greg and Marie Evans of Cave Spring along with a host of their children and grandchildren.

“We’ve been coming for several years,” said Greg. “They always have a good parade.”

Greg said they heard about the local parade through local media reports and also word of mouth!

For the children, most entries always throw something “sweet” their way to enjoy.

“You see the boys with their bags?” laughed Marie. “They like the candy. They all have a bag and are waiting for the candy!”

The Rev. Lewis Conaway, pastor of Rock Run Baptist Church shared a few words to open the event. He gave thanks that the rain, which threatened a good portion of the weekend, held off for the parade.

“We thank the Lord for pretty weather,” said Rev. Conway. “We just praise his name. We have many communities, many families, many churches represented. There are a lot o people that are on our prayer list we want to remember them.”

The Rev. Wendell Dutton, director of missions, Cherokee Baptist Association, led in prayer.

“This is a great event,” said Rev. Dutton. “To see the communities come together, friends, neighbors and churches together on this end of the county, what a marvelous event it is. It is not just confined to this community, but there are folks from all over the county here today.”

“Grady Rhinehart, you are to be credited for putting this together along with all the folks helping you,” said Rev. Dutton.

“Thank you everybody for participating at whatever level you are participating,” said Rev. Dutton.

As one of the initial founders of the Rock Run Parade, Rhinehart said he was pleased with how this year’s event went.

He noted, however, that participation was down from its usual average of more than 200 entries to between 175 and 180.

He estimated, however, that possible threatening weather conditions could have played a part in having fewer participants.

“The parade went great,” said Rhinehart.

“This was our 13th. The way I know that, the Shriners of Cedartown give us a cap every year and this one was Number 13.”

And after the parade, visitors are invited to join the community and “warm up” with a dinner of hot dogs, chili, soups and dessert prepared by members of Rock Run Baptist Church and the community.

Rhinehart reflected on how the Rock Run Christmas Parade got started.

“Myself and some others were in the church fellowship hall,” said Rhinehart. “We were discussing how some had never seen a parade before. We got it together in about two weeks.”

Although they do not charge for entries, the parade, Rhinehart said, generates funds through donations. Rhinehart said the parade has enabled them to supply needs of the community, including a flagpole.

Currently, they are working on getting a generator for the community, Rhinehart said.

On behalf of himself and the other parade organizers, Rhinehart expressed his appreciation to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and all Cherokee County Volunteer Fire Departments for assisting with traffic control and other duties.

“The Lord has been good to us for 13 years,” said Rhinehart. “I give Him the praise. It’s nothing we do.”