Christmas Parade: Jolly good fun in very merry Vero

Adorned with jingle bells and Santa hats, it appeared as if every resident in town lined Ocean Drive from Flamevine to Live Oak to watch or participate in the 34th annual Vero Beach Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Oceanside Business Association and the Sunrise Rotary Club.

More than 500 red-and-white-striped runners kicked off the festivities, racing in the fourth annual Runner’s Depot Candy Cane 3K clad in their holiday best. Lighted tutus, candy cane stripes and antlers were sprinkled in among racing elves, Santas and snowmen. Shane Streufert was the overall winner with a time of 10:16 and Emily Tato was the first-place female at 11:30.

As parade-goers watched with wide-eyed glee, the Vero Beach High School Marching Band got everyone in the mood playing jolly holiday tunes, twirlers and cheerleaders performing alongside them.

Parade participants rode, tumbled, pedaled and drove along the route, bringing smiles to the crowd as they waved and passed out candy. Mini barristers and adjudicators handed down their decrees, ordering one and all to have a happy holiday, snowflakes wafted from winter wonderlands and miniature horses trod down the festively illuminated street.

Each group was more extravagantly decorated than the last, many providing entertainment as they passed by. Bagpipers piped, the Crossover Mission basketball team bounced lighted balls in sync to music, the Vero Beach Karate Association showed off their skills, and living Nativity scenes played out the miracle of Christmas.

Tractors, airplanes, helicopters, swamp buggies and Jeeps carried reindeer, dinosaurs, pelicans and sharks, while local celebrities, including Miss. Hibiscus and Ms. Vero Centennial, were joined by such holiday favorites as the Grinch, Abominable Snowman and Snoopy. Santa Clause, the jolliest of them all, closed out the parade riding high atop the Dubose and Sons’ sleigh.

The annual spectacle grows bigger and better each year, according to Al Benkert, parade coordinator with Georgia Irish, OBA president.

“We hold the Christmas parade, the Farmers Market and the Sunset Saturday concerts all for the same reason,” said Bankert, “to foster a sense of community and small-town America.”

Float Winners

  • Best of Parade: Dubose and Sons Jewelers
  • Best Performance: Vero Beach High School Band
  • Most Humorous: Flinchum Builders, LLC.
  • Most Original: Crossover Mission
  • Most Creative and Most Holiday Spirit: Treasure Coast Jeep Club
  • Best Community Nonprofit Entry: Vero Beach Elementary PTA

Photos by: Leigh Green
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