MUSCLE SHOALS — The city's celebration of the season officially kicked off with this year's 17th annual Christmas parade Thursday night.

Wide-eyed children lined Avalon Avenue with anticipation of snagging lots of candy and a good glimpse of Santa.

Parade Director Linda Evans said this year's parade featured 111 participants, including five marching bands, various floats, costumed-characters and more.

"When we began this parade nearly two decades ago we wanted a quality event that would be entertaining for the whole family," Evans said.

"Through the years it has provided an evening of enjoyment and tremendous entertainment."

Evans said the parade has remained fresh through the years with new entries each year.

Bands performed along the parade route, and for dignitaries and others seated at the grandstand seating in front of City Hall.

Four other parades are scheduled through Dec. 14:

• The Cherokee Christmas parade will beat 11 a.m. Saturday. Entries will begin lining up at 10 a.m. at Cherokee High School.

• Sheffield's Christmas parade and celebration is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday with the parade moving down Montgomery Avenue. Music will follow at Love Plaza.

• Florence's Christmas parade is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 12. Rain date is Dec. 14. Parade lineup begins at 6 p.m. and the parade begins at 7 p.m.

• The Greenhill Christmas Parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Lineup is set for 1 p.m. The parade will follow the same route as the Rogers homecoming parade.

Float fee is a $10 donation, and antique cars are a $5 donation. Donations support the high school band, cheerleaders and Greenhill Fire Department.

For information on the Greenhill parade, call Ricky Johnson at 256-762-7058.

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