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Rome Christmas Parade hits the street - Broad Street

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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-year-old 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 lining the Broad Street parade route 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.

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

Best in Parade - Hollywood Baptist Rome

Adult Category

1st Place: Pridemore Cox Orthodontics

2nd Place: Rome Passion Play

3rd Place: Redmond Regional Medical Center

4th Place: South Broad Baptist Church

5th Place: Floyd County Sheriff’s CHAMPS

6th Place: Glitz & Glamour

Children’s Category

1st Place: West End Elementary

2nd Place: Dykes Creek Baptist Student Ministry

3rd Place: Cub Scout Pack 81

4th Place: Rome Aerials

This year the judges only had 4 winners in the Children’s Division because many of the Children’s floats were not ready to be judged by 5:30 p.m. The judges look for several specific items when determining winners: (1) Adherence to the theme of the parade (2) is the float “floating” (Is every area around the outside of the float covered?) (3) Are the participates all dressed in the theme of the float and in place by 5:30 p.m. when the judges come by their area.

Parade Chairman Jerry Rucker said “We are constantly amazed at the quality of floats every year. Our community really goes all out for the parade. This year was one of our biggest and best parades. Thank you, Rome and Floyd County.”