Jumping Gingerbread Man

This oversized gingerbread cookie leapt through the air in the 2012 Holiday Parade of Lights Friday, Nov. 23. The parade was sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc. Danny Tobben was dressed as the cookie. He was with the Bank of Washington float.    Missourian Photo.

Large crowds turned out Friday night for the Holiday Parade of Lights, sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc.

“I think it was one of our best ever,” said Bridgette Epple, executive director.

The parade featured about 52 entries, including the Washington and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School marching bands.

“Every year I am impressed by the amount of effort and time people put into their floats and how they turn out,” Epple said. “I think it’s really become a tradition for those who participate and those who come out to watch.

“I think the judges had a hard time choosing the winner this year,” she added.

Epple said the crowd was “awesome,” noting the streets were lined all along the route.

“I think people came out a little later to save their spot because it was quite chilly, but we couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout,” she said.

The winners in the nonprofit division are as follows:

• Our Lady of Lourdes, first place.

• Cub Scout Pack 811, second place.

• Washington FFA, third place.

In the business division, the winners are:

• Washington/Marthasville Lumber, first place.

• Riverfront Auto Detail/Flagg Enterprises, second place.

• Bank of Franklin County, third place.

“Congratulations to all of the winners,” said Epple. “And thanks to everyone who participated and all of those who came out to watch. It was another great event in Downtown Washington.”

Tree Lighting

As in years past, Santa and Mrs. Claus served as the grand marshals. Santa also helped Mayor Sandy Lucy turn on the lights on the large Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Elm streets.

The Mayor’s Tree Lighting, now in its third year, was held immediately after the parade. The tree was set up last week in the same spot as the fountain by Downtown Washington Inc. board members and volunteers.

The tree was donated by Nancy and Steve Sebastian of Washington. The couple transported the tree from an Indiana tree farm.

Prior to lighting, local elementary students sang Christmas carols on the front steps at St. Francis Borgia Church.

Once the lights were on, Santa stuck around and greeted children under the Farmers’ Market.

Christmas murals decorated by local schools and churches also were on display at the market and unoccupied storefronts in downtown were decorated as well.

The corporate sponsor of the parade this year was the Bank of Franklin County.