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Crowds, chill greet parade
Procession, tree lighting signal season
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Jordan Traylor finds one more piece of candy as she fills her Santa sack with goodies during the Cumming Christmas Parade & Festival. - photo by Jim Dean

Bruce and Angela McCormick were seeking a Christmas parade "with a small-town feel to it."

The Atlanta residents found it Saturday in Cumming, where the annual holiday festivities drew large crowds to the Market Place Boulevard retail corridor.

"The parade is pretty cool," said Bruce McCormick, adding that he was "glad we came out."

Cumming Police Chief Mike Eason estimated that several thousand people came out Saturday.

"We had a large crowd, about as many as last year," he said. "The crowd braved the weather."

Overcast skies and temperatures in the high 30s greeted parade goers Saturday afternoon. As darkness fell, the temperatures dropped into the 20s, according to AccuWeather.

Marcus Schmidt said it was a good parade despite the frigid temperatures.

"Aside from it being freezing out here, we're having a pretty good time," said Schmidt, a Forsyth County resident who brought his wife, Ruby, and their 5-year-old son, Aiden.

"My son likes all the candy. The whole ride up, he kept asking if there was going to be candy."

The parade started at 3:30 p.m., winding its way up Market Place between Buford Dam Road and Hwy. 20.

Northside Hospital-Forsyth's annual Celebration of Lights followed the procession, featuring entertainment, arts and crafts, a tree-lighting ceremony and fireworks.

Mitchell Cox and wife, Sharon, said they planned to make a day of it. Cox said it's the couple's first year living in Cumming.

"Going to a Christmas parade seemed like a good kind of initiation," he said. "I think they're a little different in every city in America ... Cumming has a pretty good one."

Event planner April Rains was pleased with turnout for the parade.

"It went really, really good," she said. "Both sides of the street were lined as far as you could see. It seems like it gets bigger every year."

Eason said despite the large crowd, there were no incidents at the event and police traffic control "went smoothly."

Rains said the parade had 54 entries. Judges looked for floats that stood out the most.

Winners included: Christian Fine Arts of Forsyth for most creative; Leadership Forsyth, most original; and Junior Service League, best use of a Christmas theme.

"It was cold, but we had good involvement," Rains said. "It was a good parade this year."