Thousands of East Texans lined downtown streets for the 2019 Longview Ambucs Christmas Parade on Thursday.
Slightly above-average temperatures made for a comfortable evening to watch more than 100 parade entries, local marching bands and hundreds of young children entertaining the crowds.
“I feel like it’s a great crowd tonight,” Longview mom Stephanie Tate said as her family waited for her daughter Saydee, 9, to dance down Whaley Street as part of the Tina Grider School of Dance troupe.
“This year, we’re so lucky. It’s so nice,” Tate said. “I think most people are overdressed because we were expecting it to be cold, and it’s not. It feels great. It’s a beautiful.”
The temperature hovered around 60 degrees with 65% humidity and southeast winds at almost 10 mph during the parade. By comparison, Longview paradegoers two years ago endured a 30-degree wind chill.
City spokesman Shawn Hara described Thursday night as atypical of Christmas weather, “but it was certainly nice.”
“It seemed to be a highly attended Christmas parade, especially because it was nice weather,” Hara said.
Tate, who watched the Longview Ambucs Christmas Parade for the fifth time Thursday, called the event fun and exciting.
“It just brings the community together to kick off the holiday season, and it’s joyful,” Tate said.
Daphne Jackson witnessed the parade for the first time since moving to Longview nearly three years ago.
“I like it. I love it,” Jackson said noting that she enjoyed the different types of entries in the parade. “It’s not too cold. It’s cool, but it’s not cold.”
Emily Williams of Diana has come annually to the parade ever since she marched with the Spring Hill High School band.
Williams, her son, Jackson, 10, and daughter Brea, 12, waited to see her youngest daughter, Lia, 8, float by to end the parade.
“I actually enjoyed this a little more, because I froze last year. And my youngest daughter is on the Santa firetruck at the very end,” Williams said, “so I appreciate — since I have to stay until the very end — that it’s a little warmer.”