With over 60 entries, the annual South Padre Island Christmas Parade delighted onlookers once again, as proud parents, residents and visitors lined the parade route to enjoy the festivities.

Beginning at Mars Street and finishing at the judge’s station located at the Padre Island Brewing Company, a variety of floats, marching bands, dance troupes, and decorated vehicles made their way down Padre Boulevard last Friday evening. Parade goers brought chairs, coolers, and even pets, securing good viewing spots along the parade route to sit and enjoy holiday libations and the performances of the entrants.

SPI resident Adrian Hill was enjoying the balmy evening of the parade, and commented “It’s a celebration of the holidays down here, South Padre Island style. There is great weather all year round so you don’t really get snow, so this is a good way to remind you it’s Christmas down here.”

When asked what he hoped Santa would bring him for Christmas this year, Hill paused for a moment then said “I don’t really know, I have a lot of what I want now, but if anything it would probably be more car parts,” he said, laughing.

There were a variety of participants in this year’s parade. Friends of Animal Rescue brought their adoptable dogs to walk the parade route, gymnasts cartwheeled and flipped, and precision marching and holiday music was offered from the Port Isabel Marching Band, directed by Scott Hartsfield.

Frank Barroso from Port Isabel, Texas stood on the parade route, dressed in a Santa outfit. When asked what he enjoys about the parade, Barroso answered “The joy and laughter and kids,” adding “I brought my own candy, so I’m throwing it at ’em. I know they’re throwing at us, but I’m throwing it back!”

As the paraders approached the reviewing stand, onlookers were treated to music and dance performances from kids of all ages, from tiny tots to high schoolers. Dressed in festive holiday costumes, the children gave their best efforts to delight the crowds with their well-practiced routines, demonstrating hours of hard work and preparation.

From the front seat of their golf cart, Cheryl Colebank and Michelle Thompson, winter Texans from Colorado and Canada respectively, viewed the festivities and performances of this year’s annual event.

“The parade is something we partake in every year,” said Colebank, with Thompson chiming in, “It’s great to see the local people come out and put on a great parade.”

Taking first place in the parade competition were the Port Isabel Junior High Silver Stars, winning the coveted $500 prize. Local nonprofit organization Friends of Animal Rescue took second place, taking home $300; garnering a third place win and a prize of $200 were the Port Isabel High School Silver Bells; and finishing out the category were the Port Isabel Marching Band and Gio-nastics, each winning honorable mentions and $100 prizes.

– Pamela Cody