Parade heralds holiday season

By Greg Gelpi

Christmas spirit and the holiday season officially rolled into Jonesboro Saturday.

The Jonesboro Christmas parade, an hour-long display of floats, bands, sports cars and dignitaries, highlighted a day of festival-style activities, but to children Santa Claus was the best part of the day.

Jonesboro twins Hunter and Austin Price watched as the parade streamed by, but said the parade saved the best for last as Santa himself road atop a fire engine in grand fashion to conclude the event.

"They always come to see him," said Marla Price, the mother of the 8-year-olds. "They look forward to it all year."

When Santa Claus comes at the end of the parade, Hunter Price said. That's the best part of the parade "because he brings toys."

Hunter and Austin put a good word in with Santa earlier in the day, asking for Teen Titan toys, mini bikes and remote control cars, but couldn't wait to see him again.

Their mother said the family has been coming to the parade since before the twins were born.

But, for Wendy Austin, 45, of Jonesboro, "all of it" was good and helped create a "joyous mood."

"It makes me feel really good," Austin said, describing "all of the people coming together in unity."

More than 1,650 participants marched and paraded through the streets of Jonesboro, Arts Clayton Events Coordinator Sara Cookson said.

Along with the parade, Arts Clayton featured artists throughout the city, capturing images of Jonesboro on canvas. Arts Clayton also showcased its new location on Main Street across from the Historic Courthouse.

The day also featured arts and crafts vendors, the Christmas tree lighting and a street dance.

Overcast skies and the occasional raindrop didn't hamper crowds from filling the streets, line dancing and enjoying the various booths, attractions and games.

More than 50 vendors participated, Jonesboro Main Street Manager Kathryn Lookofsky said, including a "little bit of everything."