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Bassett parade keeps growing
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Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry pins a “badge” on Ella Turner, the grand marshal of Saturday’s ninth annual Bassett Christmas Parade. Turner was chosen for the honor to recognize her 100th birthday next April. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Youngsters started peering down Main Street on Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the first sirens sounding to signal the start of the 9th annual Bassett Christmas Parade, and what may have been the biggest ever.

“This was probably one of the biggest parades we’ve had” in terms of entries and onlookers, said Paul Kennedy of Bassett Funeral Service, who co-organizes the event with Shirley Amos of Shirley’s Florist. It “seems to grow every year. I think people like it because it’s held during the day and people can throw candy” to children along the route.

The parade “is really good for the community,” Kennedy said. He added that both Bassett Funeral Service and Shirley’s Florist “are very community oriented. We really appreciate everyone coming out. We hope they enjoyed it and we will be looking forward to it next year.”

Several spectators held up signs in honor of Ella Turner’s 100th birthday. Turner, a Bassett native and grand marshal of the event, will celebrate her birthday in April.

Raymond Ross, who already turned 100, also was in the parade. He rode in a 1967 light blue and white Cadillac that was restored and driven by Herman Moore.

The Henry County Honor Guard was the first entry to make its way down the parade route, followed by Turner and several Bassett Volunteer Fire Co., Inc. vehicles, the Martinsville-Henry County Lions Club, Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, Bassett Rescue Squad, Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad, and the Fairystone and Patrick Henry volunteer fire departments.

Bassett High School JROTC followed the Fraternal Order of Police, Patrick Henry Lodge 73, classic cars, Hairston Enterprise Car Detailer and the award-winning Bassett High School Marching Band.

Antique cars, horses and riders, and the Piedmont T’s vehicles also were among the 60 entries in the parade.

As chords of “Joy To The World” filled the air, many onlookers tapped their toes and joined in as the band sang portions of “Jingle Bells.”

Spectatores started lining up to watch the parade an hour or more before it was to begin.

“I was here at 1” p.m. for the 2 p.m. parade “just to get a seat ... a front-row seat,” said Karen Anderson of Collinsville. Her son, Jacob Tawney, is a junior who marched in the parade in the Bassett High School band.

Debbie Bowles of Bassett and her granddaughter, Rebekah McGugan, also arrived early.

“I want to see Santa Claus,” McGugan said. But, she said, she does not yet know what she wants him to bring her on Christmas morning.

“There is so much to choose from,” Bowles said.

Joseph Little, 7, and Abby Brown, 8, have their lists already made out. Abby said she wants a “My Little Pony” and a game called “Skylanders”; Joseph said his list includes “Ninja Go” and “Lego Ninjas.”

Both sat at the parade with their grandmother, Debra Shorter of Patrick Springs.

Tiffany Hayes of Bassett and her 3-year-old toddler, Autumn, always go to the parade in Martinsville and this year was no different, but Hayes said Saturday was the first time they had attended the event in Bassett.

Contrasting the two, Hayes said that entries in the Bassett parade have “a lot more interaction with the crowd, and Martinsville’s parade is at night, so it’s a lot colder.”

Hayes said she plans to attend Bassett’s parade again next year, and that seemed fine with Autumn.

The tot waved to Santa as he passed by, and whispered that her wish list that includes “Dora the Explorer” toys.


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