Parade battles rain, brings crowds

Noah Dunn had one thing on his mind as he waited at the Maryville Alcoa Jaycee Christmas parade. Where was the fire truck?

“That fire truck better come,” the 4-year-old Noah said as he stood with his father Micah on West Broadway Avenue. “I hear it coming.”

Thousands lined the sidewalks along Joule Street, in New Midland Plaza, on Cusick Street and up West Broadway Avenue to see parade floats, Shriners in mini cars, marching band members, cheerleaders, tumbling teams, Sanitation Santa and the Budweiser Clydesdale horse team file through downtown Alcoa and Maryville as part of the annual event.

Scott Spitler stood by on West Broadway Avenue with his sons Michael, 8, and Scotty, 6.

Michael liked the Clydesdale horses. “Their feet were big,” he said.

Scott Spitler said he took his sons out to give their mom a break. “We have a daughter performing in the Living Christmas Tree, and mom’s at home resting, so the boys thought we would have a good time in Maryville,” he said.

Micah Dunn stood with his son Noah and watched as rain began to pour intermittently. “It was great except for the rain,” Micah Dunn said. “It’s my first time. I think it’s great. It gets everyone together.”

Dennis Effler with the City of Maryville watched as the Budweiser Clydesdale horse team and its wagon were loaded onto tractor-trailers near the end of the parade route. The annual parade is a good way to start the holidays, he said. “It’s a good thing for Maryville,” he said. “It’s a good thing for the community.”

Mary J. Tarvin, administrative assistant with Eagle Distributing, said there are 12 horses to a Budweiser Clydesdale team, and there are five teams that crisscross the country visiting parades and other community events. Young and old alike seem to have the same reaction to the Clydesdale teams.

“When it is little children, they usually say, ‘Look at the big horses,’ but adults seem just as impressed. They log a lot of miles, but it’s a lot of fun,” she said of the horses.

Melissa Alexander sat with her nephew Chase Nuchols and watched from the parking lot of the Mr. Gas at the intersection of West Lamar Alexander Parkway and West Broadway Avenue. “It’s been great every year,” she said of the event.

Alexander was a majorette from when she was a young child all the way through high school. “It’s a great way to get into the holidays, and you see the joy on the kids’ faces,” she said.

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