Aberdeen's Christmas Street parade a holiday treat

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Downtown Aberdeen.

Decorations were hung on street lamps down Bel Air Avenue and wreaths decorated business fronts for the annual Christmas Street parade, which drew hundreds of people eager to see Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive in their sleigh.

Jason and Sandi Easton, from Aberdeen, sat on the curb with their children, Lora, 3, and Joshua, 6, waiting for the parade to start.

"We've been coming since '05," Sandi Easton said.

"The kids love it," her husband chimed in.

Joshua's favorite part of the parade, of course, is getting to see Saint Nick. His dad likes all the military vehicles that make their way down the street.

With the holiday season in full swing, the family will probably do other Christmas festivities, but are taking it slow because Sandi Easton is pregnant.

"I like watching them open up their gifts on Christmas," Jason Easton said.

What's Joshua's favorite part about Christmas?

"Candy!" he said, smiling ear to ear.

The Smith family from Aberdeen, mom Sara, dad Michael and sisters, Emily, 4, and Abigale, 2, had already been to Harford Mall to see Santa earlier that day - "a day full of Christmas," Sara Smith said.

The family has been coming to the parade since Emily was born and live close enough to walk each year.

Smith said she would be taking the girls to see "The Nutcracker" Sunday night at Harford Community College, another family tradition.

Emily, who asked Santa for a dollhouse, said she likes "seeing people in the costumes" in the parade, especially Santa Claus.

Michael Smith likes the "small town-ness" of the parade. His wife likes to see all the local Girl Scouts troops.

Tyler Champ, also of Aberdeen, came by himself to the parade this year because his family wasn't able to make it, but he didn't want to miss the event he's come to for the past four years.

"The [Aberdeen] High School band is my favorite part," he said, even though he attended Harford Technical High School.

Champ's brother is a wedding coordinator, so he still has plenty of Christmas decorating to do this season, including decorating the tree.

"We like to put that spray snow everywhere," he said laughing.

Soon, the parade began with the Aberdeen Police Department leading the way and the city's mayor, Michael Bennett, as well as several town employees and city council members, following.

All aspects of Aberdeen were well represented - Aberdeen Proving Ground, including Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell, Sen. Barry Glassman, Ripken Stadium and the IronBirds, churches, local businesses and organizations.

Naturally, the floats most popular with the kids were the ones with people coming into the crowd to pass out candy canes.

High school bands throughout the county performed Christmas music.

Aberdeen High School's marching band played a jazzy rendition of "Feliz Navidad," Patterson Mill performed a medley of Christmas tunes, as did Joppatowne, Edgewood and Perryville high schools.

Aberdeen Fire Department drew huge applause from the crowd as several trucks made their way down Bel Air Avenue.

More than an hour after it started, the parade came to an end with Santa, Mrs. Claus, their elves and reindeer, with Rudolph, of course, in the lead.

With a twinkle in his eye, Santa waved to the good boys and girls and shouted: "Merry Christmas! Thank you for waiting!"

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