Crowds lined the streets for block after block as unseasonably warm weather greeted those attending the Hillsboro Christmas Parade on Saturday night.
It was the first time the parade has been held after dark.
“From the fairgrounds to the center of town I couldn’t believe how many people assembled to watch the parade,” said Joe Mahan, president of the Hillsboro Uptown Business Association that has sponsored the parade the last few years. “I didn’t see the crowd from the center of town on to the end of the parade route, but I talked to someone who has watched several parades, been in them, and drove the wrote, and they don’t ever remember that many people turning out for a parade before. The weather really helped.”
Mahan said there were 45 to 50 entries in the parade. He said some showed up too late to receive a number and, “It’s pretty hard to put a number on horses.”
He said that without the midway lights turned on at the fairgrounds it was kind of hard to get things organized for the start of the parade, which resulted in it starting 15 or so minutes late. But he said he appreciates the fairgrounds committee for letting them use the facility for no charge.
There were awards for the first and second place floats in four categories: best theme, best commercial/business entry, most original and most humorous. Mahan said he was sorting through the judges’ information Monday afternoon and that he would deliver the trophies in person.
“I thought there were a lot good ones. That’s why I’m having trouble narrowing them down,” Mahan said Monday. “There was just too much going on Saturday to get it done.”
Mahan said the only negative to the parade was that it started late. He said that was caused partly due to the dark and trying to get everyone lined up and in the correct order.
HUBA holds events the first Friday of most months, but will take some time off as the weather cools. Its next event will be the first Friday in April.
It’s likely that next year’s Christmas parade will also be held after dark, Mahan said.
“From everything I heard from the committee members to people who were in the parade to people who watched it, they all loved the nighttime parade,” Mahan said. “We haven’t had a followup meeting yet, but it looks like we’re leaning that way. But we’ll probably bump the start from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. I think that will still be enough time for it to get plenty dark.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.