Christmas parade decorates downtown Ruston

December 18, 2009

by Emily LaFleur

Tech students and the Ruston community gathered together to celebrate Christmas Friday night, Dec. 11., as the Christmas Parade strolled onto West Alabama Avenue and continued downtown.

Floats from various local businesses and school groups throwing candy, marching bands and dancers and, of course, spectators ranging in age crowded the streets.

Nicole Gailfoil, a color guard member of the Pride and Spirit Band, said the winter weather could not keep people from coming out for the annual parade.

“I’m really cold, but happy to be able to come out and perform for the kids and show Christmas spirit,” she said.

Gailfoil, a junior biology major, said she enjoys being part of the Christmas parade and has been for years.

“I really enjoyed parades as a child,” she said. “I’m from Ruston and have been [in the annual Christmas Parade] since high school. It has become a good habit, and this is my last so I’m kind of sad,” she said.

Katy Stack, also a color guard member of the Pride and Spirit Band, said the Christmas parade enriches this festive time of year.

“The parade gets everyone prepared for Christmas and gives kids something to look forward to,” she said.

Stack, a sophomore physics education major, said the band provided music to set the tone of the season.

“The band will be playing Christmas songs and the color guard will be throwing candy to kids,” she said.

Children there included Mary Paige Wood, a second grader at Cedar Creek School.
Wood said she thanked her mom over and over again for bringing her to the parade, and said she knew the reason why so many people celebrated Christmas.

“Jesus’s birthday,” she said.

Linh Nguyen, a junior pre-business major, said she moved to the United States from Vietnam four years ago and was enjoying her first Ruston Christmas Parade.

Nguyen also said she liked receiving tons of candy and the community’s display of Christmas spirit.

“The parade [creates] a heart-warming atmosphere,” she said. “The people of Ruston are very nice and friendly.”

Matt Coats, a senior business administration major, said he too thoroughly enjoyed being part of the jolly atmosphere.

“I was Santa [Claus] on Acacia’s Christmas float,” he said. “[Acacia Fraternity was] promoting one of our community service projects, collecting toys for Toys for Tots.”

Coats said Christmas brings people of the community including Tech together to celebrate something so special.

Coats also said students should not miss the chance to be part of the community through events such as the Christmas Parade.

“Here in Ruston our community is such a part of Tech, and we are such a part of the community as a whole,” he said. “[Ruston] is students’ home for most of their [college career], even if it is only for four or so years, it is important to get involved.”

Coats said he and other members of Acacia had a lot of fun at the parade.

“I loved it a great deal, [especially when] waving at children [and watching] their faces brighten up when they saw Santa,” he said. “My favorite part of the night was when a couple of parents came up to me and asked me to come back to say hello to their children [who were] on floats behind and in front of us.”