Jamie Hancock sat in the T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza bundled up in fleece blankets and sipping hot chocolate Tuesday evening at the annual Tyler Jaycees Christmas Parade.
The event is an annual tradition for Mrs. Hancock, who has attended the event for the past eight years.
She usually comes with her two children and her mom and aunt, but this year Mrs. Hancock switched up the tradition and came with friends and a total of nine children.
Her 8-year-old daughter Presley Hancock said her favorite part of the annual tradition is catching candies while her friend, 8-year-old Presley Grant, said her favorite part was sipping the hot chocolate.
Mayor Barbara Bass said this year’s parade was quite a bit shorter than normal, with about half of its participants cancelling because of previous engagements.
The parade was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was rescheduled due to inclement weather.
Even though the parade’s length was cut, its Christmas cheer was not.
Floats decked out in Christmas lights glowed down the streets, local bands played holiday tunes and local fire firefighters waved from fire engines.
The parade finished with the famous man of the season, Santa, waiving at his fans from the top of a fire engine — on his way to the center of the square for the city of Tyler’s 28th annual tree lighting.
The tree is lit each year by the Trinity Mother Frances Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Child.
This year, 16-month-old Micah Read was given the honor.
Micah was born at 26 weeks gestation, weighing 2 pounds, 4 ounces, making him the first micro-preemie to be cared for at Mother Frances Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He also received a corrective heart surgery and an experimental eye surgery.
Today, Micah is seeing and doing well.
“Micah is a very happy, healthy baby and proof that miracles happen every day,” Mayor Bass said.
Micah’s mother, Jayme Read, said Micah has been practicing for the event since September by flipping on and off light switches in the house.
He’s also working on his balance for walking and is starting to talk, Mrs. Read said.
“He enjoyed it,” Mrs. Read said. “He’s a people person. He loves to be out and around people, so all the people and excitement — he was eating it up.”
Royce Read, Micah’s father, thanked the community for their support.
“We are just so delighted to share this time with everyone here …” he said. “We feel so blessed by God and this community, and we thank you as a community for coming out and supporting us. We praise God for his help.”