Parade puts community in holiday spirit

Waving small American flags and some wearing colorful Santa hats, thousands filled the streets of Phenix City and Columbus Saturday for the Annual Bi-City Christmas Parade.

"It puts me more in the Christmas spirit," said Columbus resident Bennie Key.

Key was among the throngs of people who stood on sidewalks, relaxed in lawn chairs or sat in the back of pickup trucks along the parade route which stretched from Broad Street in Phenix City, across the 13th Street Bridge to Broadway in downtown Columbus.

Key said the annual event drew a large crowd this year compared to the one a year ago. "It's a lot better than it was last year," she said.

There was a brief scare near the start of the parade. A child walking alongside a float fell and appeared to get pulled under one of the trailer tires, said Phenix City police Chief Ray Smith. She was taken by ambulance to the The Medical Center where she was treated for scrapes and cuts, Smith said.

"As far as we can tell, she is going to be fine," Smith said. "At first we thought she was under one of the tires, but looking at the injuries, that may not be the case."

The incident happened near the KFC at 13th Street and Broad in Phenix City.

While emergency workers responded to the situation, it created about a 10-minute gap in the parade as it crossed the bridge and made its way down Broadway in Columbus.

Robert L. Price, a retired Army first sergeant, was with members of the Kingdom Metropolitan Worship Center to watch the parade. He said it was beginning to feel more like Christmas. "It's coming slowly," he said.

Kari Keith of Fort Benning was at the parade with her two young daughters, including Stella, wearing a Santa hat and red coat, and a friend.

"I thought it was really good," Keith said. "It was really long but it was really good."