There were no high-flying Snoopy or Charlie Brown balloons, and the sidewalks weren’t teeming with people. But the Lindale Christmas Parade had exactly what it was supposed to, family and tradition.
Tim Reynolds, president of Restoration Lindale Inc., said these two things are exactly what his town is all about. And any parade to happen here should be no different.
“Just the Southern charm,” is what makes this parade special, Reynolds said.
Classic cars, tractors pulling wagons, off-road vehicles and, of course, the historic Lindale fire truck with Santa along for the ride, made up the parade, which celebrated its fourth year Saturday. There were about 50 floats, cars or groups in the parade this year, said Reynolds, who drove the old fire truck down Park Avenue.
And to clarify some parade-goers’ questions as to why Karl Peacock only wore a white robe and a black aviator hat, along with tall dark socks and dress shoes, the parade had its own re-creation of Cousin Eddie from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The outfit was expertly completed with a thick cigar hanging out of his mouth.
Bill Whittington had called out to his family that Peacock was playing Lindale’s mayor — Peacock stopped to clear the air about his portrayal.
For Whittington, who moved to Rome a few years ago, the community feel was his biggest takeaway from this first-time experience. It was the warm reception he felt from those passing by in cars or on floats, within feet from him, quickly saying, “Merry Christmas,” that he called refreshing.
Following the parade, attendees headed over for the rest of the Christmas in Lindale 2017 events, happening outside the Gilbreath Recreation Center. Food and crafts vendors had booths set up, and church groups were giving away free hot chocolate.
The Garrett family found a table under a pavilion to wait for the lighting of the Lindale star between the stacks of the old mill later on. Joshua Garrett said it was the candy and coffee he enjoys best about the parade and holiday events, loving to get wired on sugar and caffeine before making it home.
Everyone knows everyone, Reynolds said. And regardless of if they’ve never left or are back for the once-a-year trip home, he said there is still that shared connection between all.
Though the Lindale parade may not have all the wow-factors of its big-city counterparts in New York or Chicago, it did have 70-degree weather.