Blustery winds and chilly temperatures didn't deter holiday revelers from watching the largest Augusta Jaycees' Christmas Parade in its 28-year history.
Thousands of bundled-up parade-goers lined Broad Street on Sunday, sipping hot chocolate while they waited for Saint Nick. More than 115 parade entries filed through downtown, organizer Lynne Hall said.
"We were packed full this year," she said. "Entries were still trickling in at the last minute."
Marching bands, dance teams and beauty queens entertained an enthralled audience, mostly families, for nearly two hours. Children scrambled into the streets, fumbling to pick up candy with their mittens or gloves.
"We came out here to see Santa Claus," said Hephzibah resident Ruth Williams, who hid from the wind in a doorway. "Maybe he'll throw us a blanket!"
Although the temperature was in the upper 30s at parade time, the wind chill dropped it into the teens.
Mozell Dunn had to run back to her car to find something to wrap around her shivering grandchildren. She pulled some sheets from her trunk and draped them over the two.
"It's cold, but we're staying to see my other two grandchildren in the parade," she said.
Others watched the festivities from inside their cars or through store windows.
Valerie Singleton brought her 7-year-old daughter, Talesha, to catch an early glimpse of Santa Claus.
"This is a great way to celebrate Christmas," Mrs. Singleton said. "Plus, it's a fun day with family."
It was 18-month-old Hunter Horne's first parade. He sat in a stroller next to his 4-year-old sister and watched the show.
"I love watching them watch the parade more than watching the parade myself," said his mother, Ellen McCaskill.
Her daughter Katelyn said she liked seeing Santa Claus, but that he wasn't the star of the show.
"The police and the ambulances are neat," she said.
Reach Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895.