The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Mid-County cities marked the beginning of the holiday season Saturday by assembling booths and floats and gathering outdoors to embrace the warm weather.
The Port Neches community celebrated Saturday with a parade down Merriman Street. Families and friends lined up down the road while fellow community members drifted by in shiny cars and formidable floats.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Josh Yarbrough led the lengthy line of floats and cars as parade marshal in a flaming red Chevy Corvette. Yarbrough recently returned to the area after sustaining injuries in the line of duty.
Police vehicles flashed their lights and sounded their sirens as they rolled down Merriman while the school band and dance squads marched by in crisp uniforms. Lamar State College-Port Arthur inched past in an elaborately designed bright blue float modeled after the college campus, and an inflatable Mickey Mouse stood almost two stories tall on Debbie’s Dance float. A live nativity scene was completed with a squirming infant and haphazard hay.
But by far the best part was seeing Santa Claus, said Conner Blackwell. Between catching handfuls of candy tossed from the floats and energetically waving at the people passing by, the 6-year-old still said seeing Santa was his favorite part of the parade.
Over in Nederland, community members congregated along Boston Avenue, hawking handmade jewelry and hair bows and selling seasonal treats. A local band strummed some seasonal songs while children rode by in a toy-sized train.
Parents and children alike participated in the petting zoo, bending their knees to get down on the same level as tortoises, ducks, goats, llamas and a zebra, among other animals.
Ring-tailed lemurs were also on-hand, and Groves resident Kourtney Lavergne learned how hands-on those lemurs could be. Two lemurs climbed up on her shoulders as she and her two children tried to feed them pieces of banana. She didn’t mind though; she said she loved those lemurs.
The food vendors offered some top-of-the-line tastes and treats, Ales Flood said. The Port Arthur resident said she was particularly impressed by the assorted dips made by Yaya and Gigi, who also offered gumbo and handmade Christmas ornaments.
Members of the First Penecostal Church’s youth group baked sweets to sell to raise money for church youth events. Patsy Tackett helped the youth group members make brownies, apple banana cake, chocolate-covered pretzels, cake balls and much more.
“If they work hard, I don’t mind helping support them,” she said.