Santa brought up the rear of the 2010 Downtown Holiday Parade Saturday and after finishing his favorite lead-up to his big night next month, he reported good news.
"Very few children were naughty this year," the jolly old man in red shouted from high atop his float in the Toledo event.
More good news: Children who remain on this year's Naughty list still have four weeks to make amends.
East Toledoan Julie Grover was seated on the curb and huddled under a blanket shivering, while her 3-year-old grandson seemed immune to the cold and bounced up and down quickly.
"He loves all of it … not just Santa," Ms. Grover said. "We usually come if it's not too cold."
Saturday was the 23rd annual Holiday Parade for downtown Toledo. The event, which is sometimes billed as the largest balloon parade in the Midwest, was sponsored by The Blade and Taylor Cadillac.
Bill Haas of Oregon said it was his first time attending the city's downtown parade and decided to volunteer handling the Frosty the Snowman balloon.
"It's worth braving the cold," Mr. Haas said before the iconic snowman started his slow walk around downtown. "Definitely a lot of fun."
For all the efforts of the 20 people handling the 35-foot snowman, it turned out to be one of the slowest-moving attractions Saturday.
"I think he's holding up the parade," said 5-year-old Shikara Morrell, who was watching from the viewing stand on Summit Street with her grandparents. "Frosty is OK, but I'm waiting for Santa."
Seven-year old Miranda Nino had one of the best seats for the parade - perched well above other onlookers on her father's shoulders.
For her, the balloons and clowns were fun to see, but the best part was the "really loud bands."
Marching bands from the University of Toledo and Woodward, Scott, Central Catholic, and Pike-Delta-York high schools participated.
Miranda's father, Mondo Nino, was also a first-timer at the annual tradition.
"It's usually too cold, but my daughter wanted to come today so we came," Mr. Nino said.
The temperature as the parade started at 10 a.m. was just at the freezing point, and a strong breeze whipped up Summit Street.
The parade that included multi-storied helium balloons, floats, bands playing holiday music, Shriners, and the Distinguished Clown Corps started at Summit Street and Jefferson Avenue, traveled north on Summit to Jackson Street and finished on Huron Street. Actress Alyson Stoner, from the Disney Channel's Camp Rock, was the grand marshal. She is a Toledo native.
Savannah Ault, 9 years old, said she was most impressed by the Clydesdale horses pulling carts.
Three generations of her family spent part of the morning watching the parade.
Savannah and her grandmother Hazel Munding of Oregon shouted, "Merry Christmas!" at parade marchers as they passed by - including to the Toledo Mud Hens' mascots, Muddy and Muddonna, who, keeping in character, just waved back.
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