By Ed Brock
As the sun slowly died Alicja Partka and Anna Lukasik and their children watched the holidays come to life in Jonesboro.
It was the first year for Partka of Fayetteville and Lukasik of Ellenwood to come to Jonesboro's annual parade, and they did so because of the collection of young children at their feet.
“It's a lot of fun for the children,” Partka said.
In keeping with the city's tradition, the parade and Main Street Festival was held Saturday, the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy was once again the honorary Grand Marshal of the parade that was presented by Arts Clayton, Clayton County and the city of Jonesboro with the sponsorship of Heritage Bank. Walter Reeves, host of WSB-TV's Lawn and Garden Show, was the special guest.
Hundreds of people lined Main and McDonough streets in the city to watch floats, marching bands and vintage cars roll by. Santa made his appearance at the end and to top it all off, the city lit its Christmas tree on the lawn of the old County Courthouse.
In front of the Coldwell Bankers' Toys-For-Tots float, winner of the first place award for most community impact, Jennifer Cabbage and Patrice Ogletree capered in Christmas elf apparel, complete with jingle-bell hats.
During the day booths of arts and crafts lined Main Street as shoppers milled around. However, first-time vendor Doris Smith of Ellenwood said business had been a little slow for her. On her table were brightly colored tropical style paintings, Tiki bird houses and other crafts.
“People have been buying more food,” Smith said. “This is our first year but I've heard some people comment that there aren't as many vendors.”
Darlene Thomason and Kathryn Schwenger, decked out in Civil War-era dresses, worked the crowd to promote the Christmas events at Stately Oaks.
“We're inviting them home for Christmas,” Schwenger said.
“We're all about education and serving the community and this is the perfect time to do it,” Thomason added.
It was also a good time for campaigning. Clayton County Commission candidate Lee Scott had a banner on a truck parked near the parade route and lieutenant governor candidate Greg Hecht was also out working the crowd.
“It's great to be campaigning at home,” Hecht said.
The parade was a little bittersweet for newly-elected Jonesboro Councilman Bobby Wiggins, a former member of the now defunct Jonesboro Volunteer Fire Department.
“It's the same old same old,” Wiggins said. “The Jonesboro Fire Department just isn't helping out with it this year.”