By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Christmas cheer comes to Clermont
Santa rides down Main Street in towns holidays parade
Marty Raffray of Dahlonega holds granddaughter Alana Dodson, 4, of Clermont as they wait Saturday to watch the annual Christmas parade in Clermont. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Santa Claus jumped into his red suit Saturday morning to lead the way at the second annual Clermont Christmas Parade.

Santa’s helpers, some dressed with Santa hats and others with reindeer antlers, were ready to spread holiday cheer and wish spectators a Merry Christmas as they traveled down Main Street in Clermont.

"This is a very good time for people to come together as families," Santa said. "The Clermont Parade for the last two years has been very instrumental with bringing people together."

Santa said he hopes that people will remember the importance of giving during this holiday season.

"It is nice to give but people should be giving out of their heart because they want to, not because they think they have to," he said.

Before the festivities started, Cleveland resident Brandy Anderson was busy decorating the Clermont IGA Express float, which looked like a train.

"It is my favorite time of year because everyone is always so happy," Anderson said.

Anderson had many young helpers with her aboard the IGA Express, including Katie Smith, 11, Lexy Harrison, 10, Chelsey Watkins, 14, and Hanna Anderson, 8.

Watkins said liked the fact that she was able to hang out with her friends during the parade.

The cold weather that swept through the Gainesville area Friday night didn’t bother the group, but parade coordinator Emily Harper did wonder how the chance of snow would effect the event.

"We had a lot of cancellations," Harper said. "People hear the word ‘snow’ and they think they are going to be stuck in the house for four or five days, but that’s not how it is here."

Despite the threat of flurries, Harper didn’t let the weather get her down.

"We were going to have this parade," she said. "I didn’t care if it was snowing, raining, sleeting or whatever. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the parade, it is the spirit of it."

Bill Harris, the president of the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 772, was contacted by Harper to help coordinate the event. He said that the main objective of the Vietnam Veterans is to help the community.

"The kids come up and thank us," Harris said. "We are here to make the kids happy."

Harris realizes the difficulties that many people are going through due to the economic downturn, but he doesn’t think this should affect the enjoyment of the holiday season.

"This is the time of year that we should be rejoicing instead of worrying about the economy and our jobs," Harris said. "We need to rejoice in our country, and we need to go out in our community and give."