Five-year-old Tim Bilby was all smiles when Santa Claus passed him on Ford Avenue.
“I love Christmas,” the smiling boy said to his mother.
The youngster wasn’t alone, as Santa had smiling faces lining both sides of Richmond Hill’s parade route. The jolly old elf was the highlight of the 20th annual Richmond Hill Christmas parade Saturday, although there were plenty of other floats that brought laughter to the children.
Retired planning and zoning administrator Nancy Frye was this year’s grand marshal. Frye headed the parade committee for many years before her recent retirement.
“It’s an honor to be chosen. It means a lot to me,” she said.
Mayor Harold Fowler said, “I thought the parade was great. Everyone had a great time. It takes a lot of hard work to pull this off. The parade committee deserves a lot of credit.”
Parade chairwoman Linda Blankenship echoed the mayor’s thoughts.
“The committee started planning this months ago. It takes the efforts of a lot of people,” she said.
She estimated that more than 5,000 people lined the parade route.
Parade judges Cindy Catlett, Julie Dykes and Kelly Taylor narrowed down about 95 entries into category winners.
According to Dykes, it wasn’t an easy job.
“There were so many great floats to choose from. It was hard to pick the best,” she said.
The category winners are listed below.
1. Alee Shriners and Pirate s
2. Fort McAllister State Park
3. Waterfront Church
Best in Show
Alee Shriners on Boat
Mayor’s Choice Award
Richmond Hill Pharmacy
Best Use of Theme Award
1. Georgia Dermatology
2. Richmond Hill Pharmacy
3. Navy Federal Union
1. Daugherty Martial Arts
2. Dancing Unlimited
3. Emmanuel Christian Church
1. First Christian Church
2. Cub Scout Pack 400
3. Cub Scout Pack 486
Judging the school bands were John Bennett and Bill and Nicole Haws. Windsor Forest High School won first place, and Richmond Hill High School finished second.
A special trophy was given to the Richmond Hill High band for its participation in this year’s parade.
The night before the parade, Friday, Richmond Hill held its 14th annual Chili Cook-Off and Christmas Tree Decorating Contest. Results follow.
Christmas Tree Decorating Contest
First: J.J.’s Hair Salon
Second: FBLA Richmond Hill High School
Third: Georgia Game Changers Bike and Multi-Sport Shop
Grand Prize: Ralphie’s Red Ryder Chili — Jonathan Haley
First Place: Richmond Hill Police Spouses Association
Second Place: Notch
Third Place: Plums
Best Booth-Design Award: Ralphie’s Red Ryder Chili
Peoples’ Choice Award: Chili Bomb