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Santa, the Grinch take part in Adrian parade

ADRIAN -- With patriotic colors of red, white and blue, those who were preparing the George, Iowa, float for the parade in Adrian Saturday evening felt a bit out of place. After all, up and down the street were entries adorned in red and green, complete with decorated Christmas trees, snowmen and even a live nativity.

It was Christmas in July, and the townsfolk living along Maine Avenue got into the spirit by putting ornaments on their evergreen shrubs, placing an inflatable Santa Claus in the front yard and hanging Christmas banners from the downtown light poles. The day's festivities included a craft show, disc golf tournament, a community theatre performance of "A Christmas Carol," and a late-evening Christmas decorating contest of RV's at the campground.

This was the first year the town's festival has centered around the Christmas in July theme, and organizers are already planning to repeat the theme next year.

One thing is for sure, having a theme made it easier for some to come up with an idea for their parade entry -- although digging out the Christmas decorations proved somewhat of a chore.

Members of the state championship Adrian girls cross country team served as Grand Marshals for the parade. They dug through closets, attics and garages of team members to come up with the flocked Christmas tree, green garland and red bows for their float. In the front hung signs that read, "All we want for Christmas is ... a state championship," while the team's trophies were placed along the front, and teammates wore their championship medals, which dangled from blue ribbons.

Jim and Toddy Voss had the honor of driving the float decorated by their 600 block of Nevada Avenue through the parade. With the theme, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," the group borrowed a wooden manger from the local St. Adrian Catholic Church and had neighborhood residents Brett and Robin Perkins and their baby, Benjamin, portray Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Other children from the block served as angels and shepherds.

"We got together Thursday night and put (the float) together in the Rupp garage," said Toddy Voss, adding that the 600 block of Nevada usually has an entry in the community parade. She liked this year's Christmas theme.

"I think it's great," she said. "We had lots of ideas that we came up with."

The Sunview Drive neighborhood -- four couples who all happen to be grandparents -- themed their entry, "To Grandmother's House We Go." The names of each of their 26 grandchildren were written on red and white stockings attached to the 1931 Chevy truck, which was driven by Dick and Alice Thier.

"We're hoping this makes it through the parade," Dick said with a laugh. "The air conditioner doesn't work very good."

The back of the truck was filled with brightly wrapped Christmas presents, as well as an old doll, rocking horse and tricycle.

The Christmas in July theme had no impact on Mother Nature, who delivered yet another day with temperatures in the 80s. It was enough to make Santa Claus quite warm.

Brittany Palaschak, who volunteered to wear the red suit and white beard because the real Santa is just too busy at the North Pole, rode through the parade on the Wilmont-Adrian Co-op entry.

"I'm toasting," she said. "I'm gonna be a toasting Santa Claus."

Cooperative employees, along with Jeri Kruger of the Adrian Hardware Store, collaborated to decorate their pickup with green garlands, stockings, a Christmas tree and wrapped presents.

Denise Crawford said they borrowed the garland from the hardware store -- during the Christmas season it hangs from the awning -- and the rest of the float's contents had to be taken out of storage.

"Everybody dug through their Christmas boxes," she said.

More than 60 units were registered for the Adrian parade. Also taking part was a float featuring the Grinch, which was sponsored by Sioux Valley, and a float that included a baby Holstein calf with the words, "Have a dairy Christmas." That float was entered by Wieneke Feedlot and Dairy.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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