The Howe Chamber of Commerce helped roll in the holiday season Saturday with its annual Christmas parade.
The event was initially scheduled to take place last week, but the festivities were delayed until Saturday due to poor weather. Howe traditionally schedules its Christmas parade alongside Anna and Van Alstyne, however the other two cities elected to cancel their parades outright due to the weather.
“They decided to cancel, but we have decide to march on,” Howe Development Foundation President Monte Walker said.
Walker said parade organizers were lucky that rain earlier this week had passed in time for the parade.
With the delay, Walker said he was uncertain how many people would attend, but crowds for the parade arrived later than in previous years, with about 300 people lining the route.
Despite competing with larger events, Walker said Howe has its own appeal that the larger cities have lost.
“Our city is a bit different than others,” he said. “They’ve experienced growth we haven’t. We still have that hometown feel that others may not have with that growth.”
For 2018, parade organizers chose the theme of “Toy Land” for the event and encouraged the more than 30 groups involved to decorate their floats, groups and vehicles with the theme.
“Each year, we get with the high school marching band and they have a theme for their shows and contests,” Walker said, describing the band as one of the larger participants. “They have props built, so we go along with them.”
Keep Howe Beautiful kept in theme this year with a float, dubbed “a beary merry Christmas” and decorated with toys and stuffed animals. Representative Becky Hogenson said the organization has been involved with the event since its origins nearly 40 years ago.
“Our organization is automatically a part of Howe and we just like to support the community,” Hogenson said. “I think with a small town parade you know everyone. You know everyone on the floats, and as you drive by, you pass people you know.”
Like Hogenson, Adam Hamner has attended the event since he was in high school. In recent years, Hamner said he has made an agreement with the owner of a storefront along the route to attend each parade in costume.
“For Christmas, we do Victorian as a Dickens kind of thing,” he said, while sporting a long coat and black top hat.
Despite the previous weather setback, Hamner said he was looking forward to the parade, regardless of how many people attended. The larger cities do not have the same feel as Howe, he said.
“I always like the smaller towns because you get that Mayberry feel to it,” he said.