A Little Caesars pizza, sweet tea, hot chocolate, blankets and an air mattress have been the essential ingredients for one family's setup for the Rome Christmas Parade eight years running. And none of that changed Tuesday night.
Judy Reynolds and Senika Turman have made the parade a mainstay holiday event for their 8-yearold daughter Tra'Yanna Cronon for as long as she's been alive. The air mattress keeps all the family in one place, Reynolds said, and it brings some added comfort to watching the stream of floats go by.
Family is what Christmas is all about, Reynolds said.
"Family and the baby Jesus," Cronon added.
This year's parade was the first for Shelley Hawkins, she said, as she and her family usually attend the one in Summerville due to their home being near the county line. But she couldn't miss her daughter Mattison Hawkins, who took part in the parade along with fellow members of the Armuchee High state champion competition cheer team.
There's definitely something special added to watching a parade when your daughter is in it, she said, as parents sit through just about anything, including all sorts of weather, for their kids.
To get a prime spot for parking on Broad Street, Julius Ragland said he parks his car around 4 p.m. each year, securing a location to watch the parade with his family from the back of his SUV. Watching all the different floats surrounded by his family and his community is something special, he said, and has kept him coming back for over 24 years.
In the background of the crowd were Michelle and Barry Dyer, ringing bells for The Salvation Army and standing beside their red kettle. Barry Dyer admitted his wife does it more often than he does, but it's tough to compete with someone who volunteers for just about everything come Christmastime.
At the end of the parade, Hollywood Baptist Church won Best in Parade. In the adult category winners are: Pridemore Cox Orthodontics in first, Rome Passion Play in second, Redmond Regional Medical Center in third, South Broad Baptist in fourth, Floyd County Sheriff's CHAMPS in fifth and Glitz & Glamour in sixth. In the children's category, West End Elementary won first, Dykes Creek Baptist Student Ministry won second, Cub Scout Pack 81 won third, and Rome Aerials won fourth.