Dancing Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the Grinch, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and even Cousin Eddie from “Christmas Vacation” made their way down Fifth Street in Beatrice on Saturday night.

It was the third annual Lighted Christmas Parade in Beatrice and you’d have been hard-pressed to find a nicer night for it. With temperatures hovering in the high 50s, 29 floats lit with Christmas lights and flanked by revelers throwing candy to kids watching the show, slowly traversed Fifth Street to bring a little holiday cheer to Beatrice residents.

The day kicked off at 1 p.m., when kids and families could climb aboard a horse-drawn trolley with Santa Claus for some pre-parade excitement put on by Main Street Beatrice.

During each trip through downtown Beatrice, Santa got a good idea of what each of the children would like for Christmas this year. Visitors also got to enjoy a helping of hot chocolate and cookies until about 3 p.m.

In the hours before the parade, downtown businesses were bustling with holiday shoppers getting a head-start on Christmas. The antique and thrift shops were hopping, as were restaurants and retail outlets.

Residents staked out the best spots along Fifth Street, setting out lawn chairs before grabbing a bite to eat. Residents of the Kensington were able to find a spot to sit inside Hill Home Furnishings and were able to stay warm while watching the parade, which was presented by the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce.

At 5:30, just as the sun had set and the super moon was shining brightly overhead, the first floats started coming down Fifth Street from the Country Cookin’ Cafe parking lot.

Elaborate lighting and costumes were the big draw as the parade winded its way through town. Floats from schools and area businesses stopped to wave and toss candy.

Movies like “A Christmas Story”, “Polar Express” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” were all represented, and as dancing lawnmower-powered Christmas trees.

Finally, Santa Claus arrived in the last float, sitting on the convertible boot of a 1966 Ford Mustang. He smiled and laughed, and greeted kids along the street.

The floats made their way to the parking lot next to Charles Park where parade-goers could enjoy some hot chocolate, cookies and popcorn while they lined up to get their pictures with Santa. There were even two live reindeer on hand for the event.

Marilyn Bruer, manager at the Beatrice McDonalds, was volunteering in the Carnegie Building, handing out activity books and candy canes while encouraging people to vote for their favorite Christmas tree.

She’s a newcomer to Beatrice, having just moved here about a month ago. She got a chance to watch the parade and said it reminded her of the one they had in Cody, Wyo. where she used to live.

“I was glad that they did one here,” Bruer said. “It was very neat and the weather was perfect.”

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