DOBSON — Fueled by pleasant early December weather and a holiday spirit that had enthusiastic crowds lining Main Street, the Dobson Christmas Parade rolled through town Saturday afternoon with a dazzling display of sights and sounds.
The annual procession that has been a fixture in the county seat for about 35 years, sponsored by the Dobson Lions Club, lasted a little more than an hour on Saturday and seemed to offer something for everyone.
A marching band from Surry Central High School set the tone along the packed parade route stretching from Surry Community College to an end point near Dobson Town Hall.
The ensuing procession was highlighted by colorful floats prepared by local churches, businesses, agencies and clubs, as well as about 10 candidates for various offices in next year’s Surry County election including several running for sheriff.
Getting everyone’s vote Saturday was the always-popular practice of candy tossed out on the street from those riding or marching in the parade, which was eagerly snatched up by youngsters.
Further adding to the proceedings were appearances by an array of costumed characters led by Santa Claus. He was the last, but not least entry in the parade — perched high in the sky in a bucket truck of a local electric company.
There were also vintage cars and trucks, motorcycles, farm tractors and a lengthy convoy of dozens of fire trucks and other public safety vehicles from Dobson and surrounding areas, which had sirens and horns blaring along the way.
Scout groups and at least one homecoming queen additionally were among the attractions, and local dignitaries including members of the Dobson Board of Commissioners rode along the route and waved to the crowd.
Hugh Wilkins, a longtime Lions Club member, was the grand marshal for the event that also included Robert Ackerman, a retired colonel with the U.S. Marine Corps, as this year’s honoree for a special veteran recognition of the Dobson Christmas Parade.
And if all that wasn’t enough to please onlookers, the festive occasion featured a large number of horses, animals that are banned from many holiday parades, and even one lone pygmy goat prancing proudly along the route. Some of the horses performed tricks, further engaging the crowd.
“The horses were awesome,” said Mark Nelson, a Dobson resident who enjoyed the gathering with family members including his wife and three children.
The family hasn’t lived there all that long, with Saturday marking its first time attending the town Christmas parade.
Nelson said he “definitely” will be back for the event next year.
“I thought it was great,” he said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.