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Clermont toasts the season
Hall County town welcomes holidays with parade, tree, Santa and marshmallows
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People gather around a fireplace Saturday night to toast marshmallows in Town Hall Park in Clermont during the annual Clermont Christmas parade and tree lighting.

It’s nearly that time of year again — Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now the countdown to Christmas begins.

The city of Clermont welcomed the season with its third annual Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony Saturday night at Town Hall Park, 122 Dean St.

With the cooler temperatures and the arrival of Santa Claus, there was no better way to begin the 2012 holiday season.

“It’s turned out to be pretty nice,” said Seth Weaver, Clermont council member and organizer of the event.

Though Santa didn’t come in his trademark sleigh because it’s not Christmas just yet, he arrived during the parade and spent time with those in the community and the kids.

“The kids come out to meet Santa Claus. All the kids enjoy it. We got a lot of kids in the community,” Weaver said.

For Weaver, this annual event has become one for the kids, but also one that brings fellowship throughout the Clermont community.

“We’re in a small town and everybody knows everybody,” he said. “It’s the right time of year to get together and celebrate for the right reasons, and not just see how many gifts we can get; give thanks and be thankful we live in a (small) community like this.”

Daphne Stiles was standing in line to meet Santa with one of those happy kids, her 3-year-old son, Grady Stiles.

“I live here in Clermont, and I helped decorate,” Stiles said. “I have a 3-year-old, so you have to come out and see Santa. Fellowship is very big; a lot of people come together, even outside of the community to help just because Clermont’s a close knit (community).”

Tracey Whitmire and her 7-year-old son, Jackson Whitmire, loved the atmosphere of the event. The two also loved the parade, specifically the tractor-trailer truck parked at the end of the parade route and decorated in different colored Christmas lights from front to back.

To fight the chill in the air, some in attendance ate roasted marshmallows and drank hot chocolate, while others opted to stand in front of the open fire pits and warm their hands.

“I liked the big truck with everything lit up,” Whitmire said. “That was pretty awesome. ... And the marshmallows. We’re pretty simple.”

Whitmire also said it was nice to see the community come out and support an event for the town.

“It’s nice to see a community together. You don’t get that everywhere, not nowadays,” she said.

“We get good feedback (on the event). Everybody pitches in and does their part,” said Weaver.

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