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Make the season merry and bright for all

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas is booming in Wise County.

It seems like people had their lights up earlier than ever this year, no doubt helped by the unseasonably warm weather. That warm weather also likely helped make two local holiday traditions a rousing success: Decatur’s lighted Christmas parade on Saturday and the Wise County Toy Run on Sunday.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

I’ll have to admit a first for me: watching a Christmas parade while wearing shorts. I don’t have an official count, but it seemed like there were more parade entries than ever before, and the people who turned out to watch packed the downtown area several rows deep. I can’t speak for other parents, but my kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. My daughter’s favorite was the horses decked with Christmas lights, while the biggest shrieks of joy from my 19-month-old son came when he saw the floats with the Sesame Street characters, and Elmo in particular.

And how about the Toy Run? I didn’t see much of it, although we did get caught in a bit of a backup caused by the line of motorcycles streaming through town. At one point, the column of motorcycles reached from the city limits of Bridgeport to the parking lot at Decatur’s McCarroll Middle School. And the pile of donated toys at the end of the run was double what it would normally be.

Santa will be quite busy in Wise County this week. He’s scheduled for appearances in Bridgeport today (flying in on a helicopter, no less – giving the reindeer a break before the big night I guess), and Paradise and Rhome on Saturday. And if you missed Decatur’s Christmas parade, you still have a chance to catch one in Alvord or Bridgeport this Saturday or in Slidell on Sunday.

Local charities will also be booming this year.

The Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringing campaign has brought in close to $7,000 through the first 11 days, campaign coordinator Tana Fedric said Tuesday. That’s up compared to last year, when $6,268 had been collected through the first 14 days.

The key, Fedric said, is having volunteers ringing the bells and manning the kettles in front of Wal-Mart in Decatur. When nobody is available to ring, no money is being collected.

But things are looking better on that front, too.

“It’s filling up,” Fedric said of the schedule. “It’s looking better than last year.”

The weekends are nearly full, although some time slots on Sundays still need to be filled. The biggest need is during the day during the work week.

“Next Tuesday and Wednesday are pretty empty, and Wednesday the 19th and Thursday the 20th,” Fedric said.

If you or your workplace, church or community group would like to help out, call Fedric at (940) 627-5859.

And I haven’t even mentioned the best part: all money collected stays in Wise County to help out those in need right here.

We also had a story in the weekend paper about the local Spirit of Christmas campaigns. There are plenty of angels still available for adoption at local financial institutions.

The holiday season is off to a great start. Let’s keep that momentum going by helping make someone’s Christmas a little brighter.

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