COLUMBIA — Kids of all ages lined eight blocks of Broadway on Sunday afternoon for the 28th annual Holiday Parade, and they had one thing on their minds: candy.
Troy Nichols of Columbia brought his children, 5-year-old Danny and 3-year-old Lily, to the parade to support their big sister Josie, who was marching in the parade with her Girl Scout troop.
But what were Danny and Lily really looking forward to? With impish grins at their father, they said almost in unison, “Candy!”
Luke Templeton, 4, and Bailey Templeton, 8, came to the parade with plastic bags, hoping to fill them with their favorite candy: Hershey’s chocolate.
Their mother, Jill Templeton of Columbia, sat cross-legged with them on the pavement, listing things she forgot to bring: chairs to sit in, a blanket to keep them warm and hot chocolate to drink.
“But we brought our bags for our candy,” she said, laughing. “We’re ready for that, aren’t we?”
Even the adults were hopeful for some treats. Isaiah Cummings, 30, and his wife, Jennifer, 29, both of Columbia brought their 11-month-old son, Henry, to see his first holiday parade. But Isaiah had a second reason for coming.
“I have it in my head for some reason that they’re throwing candy,” he said.
But the arrival of Santa Claus on the last float of the parade was enough to make 5-year-old Nicholas Kanne forget about his sack full of treats.
“Santa!” he shouted excitedly to the cluster of other children in his vicinity, pointing down Broadway. “Look! It’s Santa!”
And Nicholas had a special request for Santa, which he screamed to him as his float went past: “I want a present!”
The parade lasted about an hour Sunday afternoon, stretching from College Avenue down to Fifth Street along Broadway. Five marching bands, Miss Missouri, Miss Columbia and Columbia police and fire departments all participated in the annual parade.
The fact that a Christmas-themed holiday parade took place the weekend before Thanksgiving didn’t seem to bother people. In fact, the mildness of the mid-November day — afternoon highs were in the mid-50s, according to the National Weather Service — was appreciated by regular parade-goers.
Ed and Pat Seaman of Columbia have braved all types of icy and snowy weather throughout 20 years’ worth of holiday parades, often staying “‘til the bitter end so we could see Santa,” Pat said.
But this year was much more pleasant, they said.
“It’s usually much colder than this,” Ed said. His wife agreed, “This is not bad today.”
The couple, who also typically attends the Memorial Day and MU Homecoming parades, used to come to the Holiday Parade to watch their grandchildren march in it. Now that their grandchildren are grown and gone, they’ve found different reasons to attend.
“It’s nice to see all the people,” Pat said. “They (the people of Columbia) really like a parade.”
Susan Phillips, 56, has lived in Columbia since 1969 and has never attended the holiday parade. But this year, her father, 94-year-old Lanson Phillips of Doniphan was in town for Thanksgiving, so she decided to bring him to the parade for something to do.
Both were looking forward to hearing the marching bands and enjoying the general excitement of a parade.
“It brings a little kid out in you,” Susan said.