HAMLET — Police and fire sirens wailed. Pretty girls waved from open cars. And candy and wrapped rolls of toilet tissue arced through the air at Hamlet’s 2017 Christmas parade Thursday afternoon.
“I need Dum-Dums,” one youngster shouted as the first float appeared, and down the candy steadily rained: Tootsie Rolls, peppermints and, yes, Dum-Dum lollipops.
But by far, the most enthusiastically received freebie of the day seemed to be the toilet paper.
VonDrehle Corp. whetted the public’s appetite early in the parade, so that by the time Cascades Tissue rolled up (sorry) a tad later, paradegoers were poised with their arms in the air to catch. Some had moved so far into the street, they could have reached out to touch the float.
Families stuffed the captured rolls under children’s strollers, into plastic bags alongside their candy stashes or just carried them home by the armload.
By the time the parade had ended at slightly after 4, the street was littered with broken candy and driven-over TP rolls.
Children are the reason
Up and down the streets lining the parade route ranged children from infants in arms to teens jostling one another.
Mike Banks took his three grandchildren Gage, Brianna and Destiny Morton, ages 6, 8 and 5, respectively.
Every few minutes, he held back the kids and dodged into the street to grab candy as the children’s stepfather, Travis Jenks, watched.
Why wasn’t Jenks out there instead of the older man?
“He’s faster than me,” Jenks said. “They look forward to this more than they do Christmas,” Jenks said of his stepchildren, who stayed in a tight knot as Grandpa dodged for sweets.
London Davis, 6, went to the parade “‘cause of Santa,” but his favorite parade entry was the blaring police cars.
He also scampered for toilet tissue, declaring, “I have to get some toilet paper for Mama!”
Mama got three rolls.
Santa hats de riguer
One of the few places people don’t feel funny wearing Santa hats in public is a parade.
Margie Jackson of Margie’s Treasure Chest day care in Hamlet shepherded 10 charges, all wearing Santa hats she had bought them. (Strangely, Jackson did not wear one of her own.)
And City Council member Johnathan Buie was a vision of sartorial splendor, complete with Santa hat, red trousers and a Christmas-themed jacket as he stood with clipboard in hand, guiding units into their proper spots in the parade.
Sounds of the season
Klaxons and sirens split the air as police and fire departments throughout the county paraded their chiefs, firefighters and vehicles.
Float riders sang Christmas songs, and the Richmond Senior High School Band played Christmas tunes.
The school’s Junior ROTC unit counted cadences, including one just for Christmas.
But perhaps the most fun entry was by an unidentified law-enforcement vehicle playing not Christmas music but: “Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]