Christmas Island Style marches down San Marco

Lance Shearer

Christmas Island Style brought the public celebration of the holiday to a climax Saturday night, 10 days before Christmas day. The annual CIS street parade took over San Marco Road, turning it into a festival of colorful lights, brass bands, boats as floats and creative costumes.

Crowds thronged the street along the parade route, many sitting on chairs they set out the previous day to reserve their places. On a beautiful evening, they watched a procession of island organizations, businesses and school groups putting their best feet and floats forward.

Numerous parade elements went with an aquatic theme, none more memorably than the ever-inventive Newcomers Club. Their ladies marched as starfish, sand dollars and a phalanx of, yes, jellyfish, winning the judges’ award for Most Creative. Also using a nautical motif, Marco Island Florist snagged Best Overall in Parade with their “Yellow Submarine” theme, complete with a 25-foot-long yellow submarine.

Doc Jimmy's Cure-All Marine Adventures. Marco's Christmas Island Style street parade marched down San Marco Road on Saturday night delighting spectators.

Scuba Marco brought a coral reef, along with anglers atop a pontoon boat reeling in oversized inflatable fish. The YMCA had “sharks” surfing on skateboards towed behind their float. Walker Marine and Paddle Marco were also among the paraders who came down the street in boats.

The popular perennial paraders, the Araba Shrine Flintstones cars, won for Most Entertaining. Best Overall Band Performance went to the Golden Hate High School Titans Marching Band, while Best Marching Band was awarded to the MICMS band, many of whose members played instruments bedecked with strings of lights.

Marco Presbyterian Church won Most Original Children’s Organization, although their manger scene could hardly have been more traditional, not to mention charming. Marco Lutheran Church went with a “Godspell” theme, while the San Marco Knights of Columbus won for Best Holiday Traditional. The Marco Patriots group won for Most Patriotic.

The parade units came by at a brisk pace, without the long stretches of empty road that had slowed down some previous Christmas parades. After their particular band finished their parade, a few of the student members hung onto their instruments and did a little solo music. As always, some spectators including Kristianna Salmon did some tailgating, offering refreshments and adult beverages to those who stopped by. A drone hovered overhead, filming all the action.

By the time Santa and Mrs. Claus came by riding atop the fire-rescue department's tower truck, and the Condee truck blowing “snow” soapflake bubbles came by, everyone was full of the Christmas spirit.