News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 29, 2013

Never too cold: 21st annual Brazil Christmas Parade

No complaints from crowd despite frigid temps

TERRE HAUTE — Think of a parade and you probably imagine a warm day with lots of floats, candy, music and crowds. You probably don’t think of hot chocolate, heavy coats and nighttime.

But then, you wouldn’t be thinking of the annual Brazil Christmas parade.

Friday night, for the 21st year, Brazil kicked off its annual Christmas celebration with a parade down U.S. 40/National Avenue through the heart of the town. The crowd stretched from one end of the downtown to the other, covering at least a mile. Thousands of people of all ages, but especially children, were bundled up in coats, hats and gloves — waiting patiently for the first floats and other attractions to slowly move along the road.

“Mommy, mommy, look,” yelled an excited youngster after picking up a Long John Silvers coupon that had been among the hundreds of items handed out or tossed by the scores of people in the parade.

At one point, about one-third of the way through the parade, something happened and there was a pause in the parade of about 20 minutes. Oddly, despite a temperature of about 26 degrees, no one seemed to complain.

People milled about, talking, holding cups of warm coffee or hot chocolate, while kids stood holding plastic shopping bags waiting to be loaded with parade candy.

The Brazil Christmas in the Park event started in 1993 and features a fireworks show in Forest Park immediately after the parade. The parade lasted nearly 90 minutes, but, despite the cold, large numbers stayed to watch the fireworks show.

Santa Claus brings up the rear in the parade each year, following dozens of floats and other parade entries. The event Friday night started with police vehicles representing law enforcement agencies from all across Clay County. Veterans groups came next, followed by the Lynn’s Pharmacy’s parade sponsor float and then a dozen or more emergency responder vehicles, including fire trucks and ambulances.

Businesses, churches and not-for-profit groups accounted for much of the rest of the parade.

“This is my first time coming to the parade,” said Amy Hensler, who was enjoying the event from inside a warm building housing Ray Staub’s Laser Art Studio and more than 20 booths of antiques for sale. “I thought this would be a nice way to enjoy the holidays.”

While a few people stayed in warm buildings or sat in their cars, the vast majority were braving the frigid air to enjoy the parade up close. There were more than 60 business, church and non-profit entries and nearly three dozen emergency responder entries.

A few of the entries included Clay County Girl Scouts; Elf Express; Papa John’s, featuring a giant slice of pizza; and Amy Burke Adams, featuring a 1941 antique Chevrolet; and the French Family calliope.

“I’d love to have that energy,” said a well-bundled up woman watching kids from Tumble Express gymnastics flipping and cart-wheeling down National Avenue.

Tumble Express was a favorite entry for Tabetha Bemis of Brazil, who sat in a folding chair at the end of the parade route near Meridian Street for the entire event. She also enjoyed the Allen & Smith Horses and Riders and the American Legion Riders motorcycles, she said.

“It was good,” Bemis said as she gathered up her stuff at the end of the evening. “Even better than last year.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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