LOUISVILLE — Blount County’s first Christmas parade (one of five) was held Saturday in Louisville.
“Christmas doesn’t start (in Blount County) until you have the Louisville Christmas Parade,” Mayor Tom Bickers said. “We had antique cars, floats, Santa Claus and several smiling children scooping up candy. The weather was warm and it didn’t rain. It was a good day to have a parade.”
Bickers said the crowd was above average this year. “The parade is spread out where you have congested crowd areas and then areas that are sparse with people,” he said. “You could tell there were a lot of people here because after the parade we had free cookies and refreshments available at Town Hall. The building was packed with people.”
Drew Pierce, age 32, lives in Knoxville yet originally hails from Louisville. Pierce said the parade is something he enjoys attending every year. “The Louisville Christmas Parade is small in scope and I think that sets it apart from other parades in a good way. The event has a down-home feel to it and is covered in nostalgia. Some of the homemade floats were my favorites, and the vintage cars were neat.”
The reindeer were nowhere to be found as Santa Claus cruised down Louisville Road in a Mustang. “The car is faster than the reindeer because it is a souped-up model, and reindeer don’t have super chargers on them” Santa Claus said. “As for the parade, overall it is a great event because it mirrors the community; laid back and family friendly.”
Over the past few years, the parade has been lacking floats by averaging only around two entrants each year. This time around, there were six entries. “We were very pleased with the parade float turnout,” Louisville Town Manager Lind Webb said. “It is a very good start to hopefully adding more floats every year.”
The parade had a float competition with three categories. Attkisson Automotive won The Grand Prize division, awarded to the best overall entry with a patriotic theme. The Spirit Award was obtained by the Middlesettlements Cheerleaders’ float for a display of originality and enthusiasm. The Mayor’s Award went to the best non-commercial float, which was earned by the Loope Family Cattle Farm float.
“The Loope family participates in the parade every year,” Webb said. “The theme of the parade was ‘Traditions: Past and Present’ and the Loope family represents that theme as they have made the parade a tradition for their entire family.”