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Final Christmas parade preparations underway

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Twilight Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday and Atmore resident Mark McGill has a special treat for those in attendance.
McGill will be riding in style during the parade on his "Side-kick," a two-passenger, four-wheel bike with six speeds that he built.
"I saw a commercial on TV that had a pedal-type car in it and it interested me," McGill said. "I went on the Internet and started looking for it."
McGill said while he was searching on the Internet, he found the Web site www.americanspeedster.com, where a man out of Tallahassee, Fla. has created bicycle/cars.
"The Web site had basically a 'build your own pedal bike,'" McGill said. "I enjoy doing woodworking and building stuff. And my wife and I like to exercise and do things together. We get up Monday through Friday and ride it about three miles every morning."
McGill's wife, Suzanne, said riding the Side-kick is fun every morning.
"It's not really like exercise," she said. "It's a lot more fun. You get to see different things and talk while you're riding in. We've really enjoyed it."
The Side-kick's frame is made from 1-1/4 inch PVC tubing that is reinforced with a steel tube in the lower rails. McGill ordered the parts for his Side-kick. He worked on it for about three Saturdays and the first time he rode it was on Labor Day.
Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Emilie Mims said she is happy to have McGill's Side-kick along the floats in the parade Saturday.
"I think it's great," Mims said.
Mims said there have been bicycles in the parade before, but this is the first time a bike/car has been shown.
For more information on the Side-kick or other pedal cars, visit www.americanspeedster.com.
The final plans of the parade are underway, according to Mims.
"The final preparations are going great," she said. "We're still getting a few last-minute entrees."
Shelly Williams with the Chamber said things on Saturday should go great as long as the weather cooperates.
"Everything's going fine," she said. "The deadline to enter has already passed. We'll have to do the safety meetings tonight (Tuesday) and Thursday night. We just hope the weather turns out to be really nice."
The "Imagine a Fantasy of Lights" themed parade will include many floats full of lights and imagination.
Williams said there are more than 20 floats participating in the parade and four bands including Escambia County High School, Flomaton High School, Northview High School and J.U. Blacksher. There will also be a lot of walking groups, clowns, marchers, the Shriners and the Cruisers Car Club with antique cars. There will also be bikers in the parade from two different motorcycle clubs. Local fire department trucks will be in the parade.
And, of course, Santa Clause will be the star of the show Saturday.
The Chamber wants to remind the Atmore community that for safety reasons, candy will not be thrown on Ridgeley Street. Candy will be thrown after the parade enters Main Street.
The parade will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday at Atmore City Hall. It will proceed down Ridgeley Street and turn on to Main Street. It will then travel south to Lindberg Avenue where it will end at Escambia County High School.
Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union is sponsoring the parade and the Grand Marshall of the parade will be director of the Atmore Public Library Cathy McKinley and her staff.
"We have made this choice because of all they do to encourage our community, especially the children, to read," Mims said.
The Chamber is also hosting an Evening With Santa tomorrow evening at Atmore Heritage Park.
"If the weather is as nice as it's been the last few nights, we will have a very good crowd at Heritage Park," Mims said.
An Evening With Santa will be from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. tomorrow. Photos with Santa will be taken by Peacock Photography. Packages include one 5×7 and four wallets for $10 or two 5x7s and eight wallets for $18. Santa Clause will arrive on a fire truck at 5 p.m. and he is bringing his elves. Free hot chocolate and chili will be available.