COPPERAS COVE — Eyes watered and noses dripped as the wind whipped through the city and spectators who waited along Avenue D to experience the sights and sounds of the annual Christmas parade on Saturday. All who attended agreed it was worth the wait.
Snuggled up in blankets, Shane Fox of Fort Hood and his daughter, 3-year-old ShayLeigh Morillo-Fox, waited eagerly along the route to see family member TeaLi march by with a group of Girl Scouts. ShayLeigh also waited to see parade VIP Santa Claus.
“I want to tell him I want a horsey,” she said.
Mary Cooley bundled up her three children, ages 3, 4 and 7, in coats, gloves, scarves and hats to watch the parade.
“I came to see the whole parade, including the fire trucks and Santa,” Tristan, 7, said.
With more than 25 entries, the parade’s highlights included the 1st Cavalry Division Band and Color Guard from Fort Hood and grand marshal Brig. Gen. Douglas M. Gabram, deputy commander of support for the 1st Cavalry Division.
Members of the Halstead Elementary School Stepmasters urged spectators to move their feet and clap to the chants they yelled while making several stops to perform during the parade route.
“We worked hard getting ready (for the parade),” Katevione Wilson said. “We wanted to represent our school.”
The parade was sponsored by the Armed Forces YMCA. It was organized by the YMCA’s director, Doreen Vassuer, who said the parade lost several entries when it was moved from last weekend due to the icy temperatures.
“Unfortunately, some groups could not do two parades in one day — ours and Killeen’s. So, we lost some entries,” Vasseur said. “But, with the better temperatures this weekend, we also got several last-minute entries, making our parade truly a hometown parade. So, it was a blessing.”