Parade's bands, floats add to joy of holiday

The Arce family attended the Charleston Christmas Parade on Sunday, a day after celebrating the season at the North Charleston parade.

Three generations of the Arce family donned red and green clothing and came downtown to watch Charleston's 31st annual Christmas Parade on Sunday.

Eighteen-year-old Gabby Arce even put on stuffed reindeer antlers.

It was her family's first time attending the Charleston parade, she said, and she and her sister, nieces and parents were having a great time.

The Arces love Christmas so much that Sunday marked their second parade of the weekend. They attended the North Charleston parade Saturday, Gabby said.

"Maybe we celebrate Christmas too much," she joked.

Her brother, David Arce, a West Ashley High School sophomore, was in Sunday's parade as a member of the school's marching band. The Arces wouldn't miss a chance to cheer him on, and to simply enjoy the holiday season on a beautiful Charleston afternoon.

The parade began at 2 p.m. at Calhoun and Meeting streets and proceeded down King Street to Broad Street, then to Lockwood Drive.

Mayor Joe Riley waved to residents and visitors. He was followed by marching bands, church groups, Scouts, athletes, beauty queens, decorated floats and most breeds of dogs, many of them dressed in canine holiday finery.

Ramona Mikell, a 12-year-old who attends Buist Academy, sat on the ground near the parade's starting point and took it all it in. She liked the bands the best, she said, but was thrilled with all the different floats and performers.

"There's always something unexpected," she said.

Nine-year-old Jamilah Washington, who attends Oakbrook Elementary School, said she loved all the fire trucks. But she was hanging in there, eagerly waiting to see Santa, she said. "It's always the big finish."

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491.