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Mville celebrates the holidays - Crowds brave the cold for annual parade

Jay Morton of Marysville, left, celebrates as the parade starts last Saturday night. The six-year-old was hanging with his posse on the State Avenue curb for the Merrysville for the Holidays Parade on a chilly Dec. 2 night. From left here are Morton, Gavin Burkholder, Cierra Burkholder, and Jack Rimstab. -
Jay Morton of Marysville, left, celebrates as the parade starts last Saturday night. The six-year-old was hanging with his posse on the State Avenue curb for the Merrysville for the Holidays Parade on a chilly Dec. 2 night. From left here are Morton, Gavin Burkholder, Cierra Burkholder, and Jack Rimstab.
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MARYSVILLE It was a very merry festival of lights last weekend as folks from this city braved the cold to see the annual holiday parade on Dec. 2.
Thousands of people lined State Avenue to watch the Merrysville for the Holidays Parade, billed as a festival of lights on a new, shorter route down the towns main drag.
Floats from around the area made the trek from City Hall to Comeford Park, and it was a line-up of the usual suspects, with the Sea-Fair Pirates, Girl Scouts, the Marysville-Pilchuck High School marching band and several drill teams joining fire trucks and police cars.
The Saturday event dodged some wicked weather earlier in the week, and Comeford Park still had snow on the ground as throngs of people listened to a mariachi band usher in the holidays at the Rotary Pavilion while warming up around a blazing fire pit. They were also hitting up the warm chowder and hot cider, while the Marysville Kiwanis did great business with hot dogs, popcorn and other goodies. Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall led the count to light up the city water tower; earlier fire fighters from the Marysville Fire District had strung the lights on the citys icon.
The main event was the parade, with about 20 entries and a cliffhanger to boot. The last minute entry by Thornberry Racing took the award for Best Use of Lights: they had two of their stock cars displayed on flatbed trailers draped with strings of color. The Mayors Award went to the rookies from Sound Harley-Davidson, who had a motorcycle carrying Santa Claus made of lights on the back of their pickup, while they followed a pair of Hogs down the street.
Girl Scout Troop 2132 won the Most Creative Award: their theme was Cell-A-Brate with cheerful messages spread out on their costumes, all in the shape of wireless phones.
Parade Grand Marshall Jim Johnson rode down State Avenue in a white horse-drawn carriage with his wife Ardyce. It was his first time ever as a grand marshal and he said he loved the experience, finding it humbling and rewarding.
An educator retired after 34 years working in schools, Johnson gave out little wooden angels he carved himself before and after the parade.
It was fantastic to see all the people and to wave and to just be out there, to see all the people that were happy, Johnson said. I think they primarily came to see Santa Claus; hes the star of the parade.
To be sure, the line to see His Jolliness was snaking through and around Comeford Park, while a craft bazaar attracted shoppers in the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center. Vendors displayed their handmade goods in the center and were doing brisk business more than an hour after the parade ended.
It didnt take some entries much more than gumption: Sandy Gruber is a technician with the Marysville Public Works Department and she was zooming and circling around State Avenue on a motorbike the size of bulldog.
Hey, do you have a license for that thing? joked parade emcee Jim Ballew, Marysville Parks and Recreation Director, as Gruber zipped from side to side on her scooter.
I love it, Gruber said when she paused for a moment after the parade. This is my first one.
Realtor and community activist Steve Campbell was supervising a silent auction outside the senior center to benefit Marysville schools PTA groups, noting that last year they raised more than $1,800 at a similar event, and were able to give out five $500 scholarships at the end of the school year.
I was excited to see so many people turn out that I knew, Campbell said.
The city used the new, expanded parking lot at City Hall for a marshalling yard, shortening the route by a few blocks this year, according to parade coordinator Kayla Flynn. It was her first year organizing the parade and said the new route and assembly area was a boon. She might tweak things a little next year, but was happy with the results.
The parade went really well, Flynn said.

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