Parades in North Augusta and Martinez were filled with the traditional sea of Christmas red Sunday, but with an intermingling of two new colors: white and blue.
At the annual Lions Club Christmas Parade in North Augusta, Rudolph had more than just a red nose; he had a red-white-and-blue scarf. And Frosty the Snowman sported a red-white-and-blue hat.
A float by ADSI Moving Systems declared it "An American Christmas."
Signs of patriotism earned float sponsors extra points from parade judges.
The Dance Shoppe's fancy float, a truck bed that carried children waving American flags, won first place in the commercial category. Graniteville First Baptist Church won in the noncommercial category with a glitzy globe and the theme "Peace and Good Will."
While it took only the Security Federal Bank bunny to amuse 6-year-old Torrey Daggett of North Augusta, his mother was more impressed with the globe.
"I thought that was beautiful, the way it rotated," Jackie Daggett said. "With everything that is going on, and at Christmastime, people are reflecting on the blessing that God (gave) with the birth of Christ, and how meaningful it is, and how precious life is."
The 37th annual Martinez Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Merchants Association of Columbia County, was a celebration of both the holiday spirit and the area's patriotism during a time of war.
"This year, I really like everything being patriotic and stuff," said Kristian Woodward, 12, who watched with her sister and grandparents.
Among the 150 floats - 10 more than the previous year - were reindeer adorned with the American flag and several U.S. Army armored vehicles, which drew loud cheers and clapping from a crowd estimated at 20,000.
For those who lined parade routes in both towns, there was another change from a year ago.
"We sat out here with snow and blankets last year," said Deana Hall of Augusta, wearing a short-sleeved shirt at the Martinez event. "We brought cold drinks with us this time."
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