Twilight parades attract record crowds

Published 3:56 am Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Children throw holiday treats to the crowd on one of 29 floats featured in Atmore’s Twilight Christmas Parade Saturday.

The Atmore area was alive with Christmas spirit over the weekend as both the City of Atmore and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians celebrated the holiday season with their annual Christmas parades. This year both parades worked to get spectators into the holiday spirit with the theme “A Christmas Gift.”

The PCI Twilight Christmas Parade got underway Friday night in Poarch, along with their second annual tree lighting event.

PCI Events Coordinator Mandy Peebles said both the parade and the tree lighting turned out to be great holiday fun for the family.

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“The parade turned out wonderful and so did our tree lighting,” Peebles said.

Peebles said organizations involved in the parade put a lot of hard work into their floats and the efforts showed during the parade.

Bringing home first place for the 2011 parade was the PCI Tribal Gaming Commission, whose Jack-in-the-Box themed float was a huge hit with the audience and judges. Second place honors went to PCI Public Works for their Tonka truck themed float. Third place honors were given to the PCI Wellness and Activities Department for their toy airplane float. The Honorable Mention Award went to PCI Housing for their train-themed float.

The fun and festivities continued Saturday night in Atmore as their Twilight Christmas Parade was unveiled downtown.

Beginning at Atmore City Hall and stretching across town to Escambia County High School, this year’s parade drew an enormous crowd lining the streets of town.

Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Director Sheryl Vickery said this year’s parade was the largest she has ever seen.

“It wonderful,” Vickery said. “It’s the biggest I’ve seen.”

Vickery said she was even congratulated on the parade’s size by a visitor who frequents the Atmore area and is known for his record keeping abilities.

“Santa Claus told me it was the biggest parade we’ve ever had and the biggest crowd we’ve ever had,” she said.

A total of 90 units and 29 floats participated in this year’s procession.

Vickery said the sheer size of the parade was eclipsed only by the amount of work put into the many floats featured.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “The talent in this community is amazing. Bravo to the community.”

Finishing in the top spot for the 2011 parade was PCI Public Works’ float. Atmore Animal Hospital and the Lee Veterinarian Clinic partnered to produce the second place float, while the Poarch Creek Indians finished in third place. The Honorable Mention Award was presented to the float from Jus Because.

Vickery summed up this year’s Christmas parade with two simple words.

“Biggest ever.”