By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa downtown was “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” Thursday night during the Main Street Lighted Christmas Parade.
Local residents lined the streets in downtown Oskaloosa as the parade marched by with veterans and marching bands in the vanguard that led the way for a variety of floats.
Oskaloosa Chamber Events Coordinator Karen Hafner was pleased with the weather and the turnout.
“It’s a balmy night,” Hafner said. “It’s great weather.”
The temperature was 48 degrees at parade time.
Hafner said there were 63 parade entries.
“It’s a little more than last year,” she said. “There were no cancellations.”
Hafner said the parade entries were mostly local, but there were 12 vans of out-of-town onlookers who booked space around the city square.
“We’re pleased with the turnout,” she said.
A variety of parade spectators gave their thoughts as the parade marched by.
Jessica Bixler and Sophie Duke, both William Penn University students, manned the Greg Grubb Kettle Korn booth near the Mahaska County Courthouse.
Duke said they were “pretty busy” with customers as the parade began.
Bixler thought the weather brought more people out to watch the parade.
“I like it a lot better,” she said of the weather.
Bixler said she and Duke look forward to seeing the parade entries and the “cool floats and lights.” They also are looking forward to the Community Christmas Tree lighting on the Oskaloosa Square Friday night.
Bill Briney, of Oskaloosa, said the weather was “terrific.”
“It’s always been so cold when they have the parade,” he said.
Briney said he looks forward to seeing the floats.
This is the first time Briney and his wife have ventured downtown to watch the parade because the weather has been too cold before.
Jan Feehan, of Green City, Mo., watched the parade with her sister, who lives in Oskaloosa.
Feehan said this was the first time she has seen the parade.
“It’s really nice. I appreciate all the work they do,” she said of the people’s efforts to build the floats. “I hope it’s a tradition that doesn’t go away.”
Feehan really liked the weather. She said her sister usually brings their mother downtown to watch the parade from their car.
“The weather was made to order,” Feehan added.
Marcia Roozeboom and her daughter, Megan, manned a Salvation Army kettle on the Oskaloosa square.
She said the Salvation Army bell ringers stopped working at the start of the parade, so she got to enjoy the spectacle as it marched by.
“I like to look at all the different lights on the floats,” she said.
Megan said she liked the bands.
This year, things will be different on the city square Friday night. Instead of a second marching of the Main Street Lighted Christmas Parade, there will be the inaugural lighting of the Community Christmas Tree in the city square from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The winners of different parade-related competitions will be announced and the parade floats will be on display. Then, the Christmas Tree will be lighted and there will be live entertainment and Christmas-related activities for all to enjoy.
More photos from the parade can be found at http://oskaloosa.com/local/x983013729/SLIDESHOW-Lighted-Holiday-Parade.