TARPON SPRINGS – The remnants of a band of winter storms that rolled across the Suncoast the night before threatened to turn the city’s 2018 Christmas parade into a washout.
But the nasty weather cleared just long enough for the show to go on. Dozens of floats, cars, clubs and organizations marched up Pinellas Avenue and then down Tarpon Avenue on the morning of Dec. 15.
As Mayor Chris Alahouzos prepared to board the city’s fire rescue boat “float” with his other City Commission members for the 10 a.m. parade start, he spoke about the holiday tradition.
“This parade isn’t one of the biggest around, but I think it’s one of the best,” Alahouzos said before he and commissioners David Banther, Jacob Karr, Susan Kikta and Rea Sieber climbed aboard the boat.
“The community really gets behind it, especially the children, and the organizations love participating and watching the reactions from the crowd.”
Indeed, smiles could be found all over town as the procession wound its way from Morgan Street to Lemon Street, up Safford Avenue and then down East Tarpon Avenue to Spring Bayou.
The return of the Egypt Shriners was a welcome sight for many parade goers as they delighted the crowds with their high-energy motorized Big Wheel show. Other parade participants included the East Lake and Tarpon Springs high schools marching bands, American Legion Post 46, the Just Dance Academy dancers and an assortment of cool, colorful Jeeps.
Just as Santa and Mrs. Claus rolled through the intersection of Tarpon and Pinellas avenues and their sleigh stopped in front of Craig Park, the gray clouds opened up and the rain began to fall again, quickly sending everyone home, slightly soggy but certainly not disappointed.