Downtown Emporia was filled with the work of angels in Tuesday evening’s 31st annual Christmas Parade.
This year’s theme, “The Work of Angels,” was chosen “to help recognize all the businesses and individuals who have gone that extra mile to help lead the way for a better, stronger Emporia,” according to a news release from the Christmas Parade Committee.
Tuesday’s floats centered around that theme and featured everything from lighted floats to vehicles decorated with lights. It wrapped up with Santa Claus at the tail end of the parade. The community will have the chance to win one of the floats — a clubhouse that is serving as a fundraiser for the Emporia Social Service Club.
Melanie Dicks-Pritchard, her husband Jim Pritchard, and their children Amanda, 9, Auralee, 5 and Aurora, 1, were in the parade with a float they call Military Angels. Their old military ambulance, which is being restored by Thurston’s Auto Plus, was decorated for the holidays and loaded onto a flat bed truck. Melanie Dicks-Pritchard said her husband likes to restore old military vehicles. They made the float to honor military personnel.
Amanda said her favorite part of the parade was seeing Santa, as her sister, Auralee, agreed.
“I like the different signs,” Auralee said. “And Santa Claus.”
The two chimed in what they wanted for Christmas.
“I want a butterscotch pony,” Auralee said.
“I want a digital TV and a computer,” Amanda said, as her mother smiled and shook her head.
Next in line before the parade was a large float by Village School titled “Angels at Work, Eagles at Heart.” School Principal Wendy Moore said each heart that was attached to the flatbed truck represented a service project the school has done. The projects included donations of food, recycling, Community Readers, clothing drive, penny wars, Buddies, mitten trees, Village Volunteers, scouts and adopt-a-family at Christmas time. This is Village Elementary’s third year in the Christmas parade.
“We have a lot of fun,” Moore said. “Parents help out with it.”
Girl Scout Troop 30057 also had a float in the parade that highlighted their service to the community. They made different posters highlighting the various community service projects. Among the projects are work at the animal shelter, said Glenda Richey, of the troop. The troop donated food and toys and gave a cash donation.
Samantha Richey said she enjoys being in the parade.
“I like being in the parade so we can show the community what we did for it,” she said, adding that the troop helped clean up C of E Park. “When we called C of E to clean up the park, they were really happy.”
Paradegoers will have the opportunity to win one of the floats in the parade — a large clubhouse. The clubhouse was donated by Michael Williams of the Emporia Police Department, Williams Automotive, Bill Redeker Construction, Sutherland Lumber and Countrywide Home Loans. Printing Plus donated banners and Groh Printing supplied the tickets. The group donated a playhouse last year and raised about $3,000. Part of the money went to the Chamber of Commerce last year. The Chamber of Commerce distributed the money. The other part went to the Salvation Army.
This year’s clubhouse is about 10 feet long and six feet wide and includes a front porch. There are fancy shingles on top and the entry door has two side glass panes and there are two windows — one on each side of the clubhouse.
“We wanted to give back,” Williams said. “We all live here and it’s nice to be able to do something. Especially when there are children involved. It’s really neat.”
This year, proceeds will go to benefit the Emporia Social Service Club. The Emporia Social Service Club runs a toy store where parents can come pick up toys for kids for holidays, donates coats for kids who are identified as in need by the school system and donates necessity bags for children in the hospital.
Tickets are $5 apiece.
“People can buy as many as they like,” Williams said.
The drawing will be on Dec. 20. Tickets can be purchased at the Emporia Police Department, 518 Mechanic St. and at Countrywide Home Loans, 702 S. Commercial St. Winners will be notified after Dec. 20 and arrangements will be made to have the clubhouse delivered locally.