121st Santa Claus Parade

By Gina Ford

July 15, 2010 Updated Nov 28, 2008 at 9:52 PM CDT

Some folks opted for another tradition to kick off the Christmas holiday season. Today was the one hundred twenty-first annual Santa Clause Parade in Peoria.

Lori Voyles and her son Austin were among the thousands of people lining the route of the annual Santa Clause Parade in downtown Peoria.
And with a tough economy, Voyles believed the parade would be a good pick-me-up.

"I thought it would be a good way for us to get in the Christmas spirit this year. We've had a rough couple of months", said Voyles.

And although this parade is 121 years old, it was the Voyle's first time taking part in the celebration.

"I should have done this a long time ago. This is way more fun than going out shopping at four in the morning...this is great".

Although it was her first time other families say the parade is their yearly tradition. Mary Ann Burk came with her daughter, granddaughter, and many other relatives...she says she's attended the parade for a half century.

"I just like the thrill of it, just knowing that Santa's at the end...and now with all the kids, I have three grand children...just the excitement", said Burk.

With 88 different units participating, there were beating drums, wailing police sirens, and cheering spectators.

Eight year-old Gabe Roling says his favorite part of the parade is the candy, and he's not alone...thousands of children took to the pavement to retrieve candy to fill their bags.

And the grand finally? Santa Claus' much anticipated appearance... and regardless of how many years parade goers have seen him, they say it never gets old.

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