By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
It was an evening of sights and sounds to satiate the senses.
The Celebrate Killeen Committee held its 44th Annual Christmas Parade Saturday evening, departing from its usual morning starting time of 10 a.m. and going instead with a 4:30 p.m. start.
The police and fire departments throughout the area lit up the event, both literally and figuratively, but it was the Harker Heights Police Department entry that was awarded the top spot overall in the parade.
Home Depot came in second with its two-pronged float, which consisted of a small pickup and a Christmas tree trailed by a long semitrailer decorated with a makeshift railroad engine on the back.
The Haitian and Caribbean American Organization took third overall.
Santa made his expected appearance, at the end of the parade as he doused the waiting children with buckets of candy from his spot atop one of the Killeen Fire Department's trucks.
Hundreds of people braved the crisp weather to line the walkways of downtown Killeen. Children were especially prevalent as each young one veered away from his or her parents to get to every piece of candy they could get their hands on.
One of those kids was 6-year-old Anthony Palmer, a first-grader at Clark Elementary. This was his second Killeen Christmas Parade. He came with his mother, Venetia.
"I think it was kind of cool," Anthony said. "And I got a lot of candy." He said his favorite part of the parade, other than the candy, of course, was when people on one of the floats were tossing out T-shirts.
"I liked it, it was good," his mother said. "I liked that they had a lot of small business in there as well."
Palmer, who has lived in the area since 1994, said this was her fifth time at the parade. Her husband is deployed in Iraq, and won't be back until August. She said it's a difficult time, but she understands, being ex-military herself.
Anthony said if his father was here, he'd ask for a Transformer for Christmas. But since he isn't, he can only talk to him, and tell his father what he'd probably most like to hear.
"I love him, and I'm proud of him," Anthony said.
Contact Justin Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org