Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua


A well-lit tradition

Live Oak's lighted Christmas Parade

Winter wonderland was the theme for this year’s annual lighted Christmas parade and float participants did not disappoint the hundreds of residents that lined the streets to watch the parade. Shimmering lights from the many floats lit up the night, Saturday, on the streets of Live Oak. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright


By Jeffry Boatright

Dazzling lights and the sounds of Christmas overtook the streets of Live Oak again Saturday evening with the community’s annual lighted Christmas parade. The much-loved event, which traditionally brings closure to a day of fun-filled festivities associated with Christmas on the Square, had been slated for December 01. Persistent and lingering rain showers, however, forced organizers to postpone the parade until the evening of December 15 instead.

While many parade fans might have been initially disappointed that the illuminated procession had to be postponed, the bad weather actually enabled the community to indulge in two weekends of Christmas cheer. Of course, the weather appeared questionable into Saturday afternoon with lingering clouds and gloomy skies. Ultimately, the weather did cooperate, and parade enthusiasts lined the streets of Live Oak to see their favorite floats and other entries.


The procession began at 6 p.m., as emergency vehicles led the parade of approximately 50 entries north on Ohio Avenue, from Suwannee Elementary School. The parade continued north until it reached U.S. 90, Downtown Live Oak, and was routed west before concluding at Paul Langford Stadium.


According to Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Karen Hurst, postponing the annual parade had no negative impact on the number of entries. In keeping with this year’s Winter Wonderland theme, parade participants offered observers a brilliant display of lights and animations that certainly captured the feel of a winter wonderland.


Temperatures were also rather cooperative for this year’s event. Throughout the decades, organizers have seen the lighted parade endure temperatures ranging from piercing cold to uncomfortably warm and humid. This year, however, the late autumn climate seemed to be just right. It was warm enough to be bearable, but cool enough to wear a light coat and wholly embrace the idea of snowmen and elves strolling the streets of Live Oak.

In addition to snowmen and elves, the parade embodied everything that a good parade should include. From the shining fire engines that led the way, to the gallant men and women atop their beautiful horses that brought up the rear, there was plenty for everyone to enjoy in between. Beautifully decorated floats, a pony-drawn carriage, NJROTC cadets, animated displays, and action figures were brightly exhibited during the beloved Christmastime event.


It was indeed a delightful parade with multiple highlights, but even the magic of Santa Claus could not compare to the magnitude of the nativity scenes that were displayed. After all, the birth of Jesus Christ is the reason that we celebrate Christmas each year. Brock Townsend, who attends church at the First Assembly of God, summed it up well when he stated that this is a time that we can come together as a community with friends and family, and remember the reason for the season.


Generations of residents from the area did come together for an evening of captivation that is found in the annual Christmas parade. It is an event that has now been around long enough that it has become a tradition for so many North Florida families. The illumination and sounds of the parade are indeed rather captivating, but the real splendor of the whole event is seeing families celebrate the season together. Even more important, the event served as a prelude for what will hopefully be a wonderful and merry Christmas for the entire Suwannee Valley area.


Hooked on Heroes appropriately had a boat float in the parade. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright


Even elves have fun in the sun. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright


The Ladies of Luraville brought a bit of southern charm to Live Oak’s annual lighted parade Saturday evening. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright


Roundman’s Pump Repair brought animation to well-drilling. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright


Suwannee Valley Electric’s float entry was absolutely breathtaking. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright


Santa did drop in from the North Pole! -Photo by Jeffry Boatright