Cat Squareâ€™s annual Christmas Parade provided everything people have come to expect from it â€” candy, colorful floats, horses, tractors and, if you knew the right people, Cat Square Kool-Aid.
â€œItâ€™s good is all I can tell you â€” keeps you warm,â€ said Jody Long of Vale who participated in the parade.
The weather cooperated during Saturdayâ€™s parade. No rain â€” or snow â€” fell.
Spectators cuddled up in blankets or huddled near fires. Participants in the parades dressed in layers.
â€œIâ€™ve got on enough, it doesnâ€™t matter,â€ said participant David Foster of the cold.
The parade included everything from dancers to school marching bands to the Big Dixie Boggersâ€™ trucks climbing on top of each other. More than 20 semi-trucks and 20 tractors also winded down Cat Square Road.
â€œItâ€™s crazy â€” you never see the same thing,â€ said Robert Hildebran, a parade participant. â€œIt never ceases to amaze you.â€
The parade concluded with a long stream of horses. Bryon Logan won Best Equestrian. A World War II veteran, he wore his military medals with a World War I uniform.
â€œIâ€™m just thankful to be here,â€ he said.
The parade is a popular topic in Cat Square weeks before and after it takes place. The mayoral race is also closely watched.
â€œItâ€™s kind of the talk of the town,â€ said Martha Fulbright, this yearâ€™s honorary mayor.
She and her husband, Ronald Fulbright of Fulbright lumber, are both large supporters of the parade.
â€œI never miss it. I have to go to the parade â€” rain or shine just to see the different floats and talk to people,â€ she said.
Fulbright Lumberâ€™s float of Santa Claus riding on a large, wooden motorcycle took home first place in the parade.
Many parade watchers camped out early enough to see the entries drive in (or clip clop) to line up.
â€œWeâ€™ve seen horses, old cars â€” weâ€™ve seen everything,â€ said Schronda Withers, a spectator.
And she was happy to sit and see it all again.
â€œWeâ€™re ready to get started,â€ she said.
Eddie Canipe, co-owner of the Cat Square Superette, was lucky if he was able to see entries once. Business kept him busy behind the cash register.
â€œIt helps,â€ he said of the paradeâ€™s effect on his business.
Hundreds of people participate in the parade and thousands more watch it.
â€œThis parade is so big,â€ Canipe said. â€œItâ€™s huge, and it has a big variety.â€
The Cat Square Flag makes the start of the parade.
One of the paradeâ€™s grand marshals, Roby Jetton, waves to the crowd.
Lincoln County Sheriff Tim L. Daugherty is joined by the Grinch in a vintage squad car.
Greg Davis and Gene Scronce work the grill at the home of Tom Sain in advance of the parade.
A fire was a big attraction for chilly hands of parade-watchers (from left) Lexie Flowers, Morgan Canipe, Ashlyn Hartsoe, Emily Brittain and Katie Childers.
A line a John Deere Gators pass down the road.
Tractors and other farm equipment roll down the road during the Cat Square Parade on Saturday.
The driver of the Oasis Hillbilly Clan waves to the crowd.
Two-year-old Abigail Alverez of Lincolnton munches on an ear of grilled corn while she watches the parade.
by Sarah Grano