A Sunny Holiday Parade
By Diane M. Loeffler
Unless you are a native Floridian, when you think of holiday parades, you picture yourself bundled up in a coat and warm hat watching floats, listening to bands and shivering as you wait for Santa to appear at the end of the parade.
On December 8, here in Sun City Center, the skies were sunny and that light jacket you put on before the parade was probably set aside before it was over. Instead of floats, we had decorated golf carts. Instead of bands, Christmas tunes wafted out from many of the carts. However, true to tradition, we did have Santa and Mrs. Claus in the last cart driven by a very special elf, Community Manager, Lyn Reitz. Some say that Mr. and Mrs. Claus bore an uncanny resemblance to Bob and Pat Sullivan.
Many area residents brought their grandchildren or great-grandchildren. The children were not only treated to a fun parade but also were the recipients of candy, beads and other goodies thrown from the carts.
Fifty-eight carts and eight dignitaries participated. This event really put us all in the holiday spirit. First prize winners in the individual and club divisions won $250, and the second-place winner in those divisions took home $150. The third place individual and club winners took home a trophy that looked like a golf cart. The first-place business winner also took home a trophy. Every cart was given one raffle ticket. Two of them won $50 each, three were given tickets to Kings Point shows and one received a gift basket from The Chamber of Commerce.
Individual winners were Jennie Cramer, first place; Barbara Durant, second place and Gary and Virginia Kimble, third place. Group winners were The Wood Carving Club, first place; the SCC Cloggers, second place and The Irish Connection, third place. Freedom Plaza won the business division.
Prizes were made available thanks to donations from the Sun City Center Community Association with help from the Kings Point Federation. A special thanks to David Birkett and the rest of the Parade Committee who have been meeting since June, the maintenance staff for all their help setting up and cleaning up, the Radio Club for communications assistance, and CERT for cart check in and line up, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. Also, thank you to our judges, Jo Boggs of Boggs Jewelers, Sasha Hoffman of Wawa, and Vern Hendricks of Sun Radio.