NAPPANEE — The expected storms held off Saturday night and the streets of downtown Nappanee were lined with people of all ages waiting and watching for the annual Main & Market Street Christmas parade and community celebration.
The parade was led by a live nativity with people dressed as Mary and Joseph, angels, wise men and shepherds. There were even sheep, donkeys and a camel.
Young people waved “light swords” around as they watched. Kathy Brown was watching the parade with her nieces and great nieces and nephews. One of her great nieces, Gabby Garcia, was excited to share that this was her second time at the celebration.
“I love it,” Garcia said as she sat with her siblings and cousins. “It’s so fun and sometimes they throw candy.”
Several organizations took part in the parade, including the Nappanee Public Library, Bright Beginnings Pre-school, dance groups, Boy Scouts, Nappanee’s Smoky Stovers Fire Department and a couple of local businesses. Santa and Mrs. Claus closed out the parade, waving to all the children from atop a fire truck.
After the parade community members gathered at the depot where Linda Thompson, wife of Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson, welcomed everyone and encouraged them to take a candle to participate in the candle-lighting ceremony. She also thanked everyone for attending and said that while it was a Christmas parade, she also encouraged them to think of it as a Thanksgiving parade as they had much to be thankful for.
The Miracle at Main and Market celebration began in 2007, following the devastating tornado that hit the area on Oct. 18 of that year. Miraculously, no one was killed during the storm and personal injuries were few.
On Saturday night Mayor Thompson read the biblical account of the Christmas story, Afterward the crowd sang “Silent Night” together and lit candles. The fourth- and fifth-grade Younger Generation choir sang Christmas carols to close the celebration.