Mother Nature smiled on Hannibal for the second straight Saturday on Dec. 1, raising the temperature to 56 degrees for the 6 p.m. Jaycees' Christmas parade.
A week earlier, warm weather encouraged many people to attend the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home, as Hannibal braced for the snowstorm that arrived the following evening.
The parade theme was a Seussical Christmas, with an entry fee of one toy donation for the local Toys for Tots Christmas campaign.
The parade "was a very good turnout, and we had a lot of toy donations," said Jaycees parade chairperson Bobi Mathews. "The Toys for Tots truck was full" after the parade.
Earlier Saturday, Hannibal had rain but not the possible storms forecasted in the area. This did cause some concern to the Jaycees, Mathews said. "We had a backup plan," in case a storm caused cancellation of the parade.
With the help of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, the floats were to be set up at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.
Mathews was grateful the storm missed Hannibal. The warm weather brought out a large crowd lining Broadway and Main Street for the parade.
"We had almost 30 floats," Mathews said. "... We loved all the support from the local businesses and seeing all the beautiful floats they contributed and all they donated for the Toys for Tots organization. … We greatly appreciate all the support we receive from the community, for helping us give back to the community."
Santa and his wife were in the parade to greet children and receive donated toys.
The parade units included six from Quincy, Ill., organized by Jeff Jansen They included an American Legion Honor Guard and members of the U.S. Marine Corps League 790.
Hannibal's official Tom and Becky, Michael Hark and Elaina Dyke, rode a carriage in the parade.
Members of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department were accompanied by a group of "elves," participating in the toy collection in Hannibal. Their team leader, Caitlin Smyth, said they are members of the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) and serve six to 12 weeks at a time. The group is ages 18-24. They were from eight states, including Missouri and Illinois, and are based in Colorado.
Several parade participants offered musical performances. Among them was the 15-member Salvation Army Brass Band, which included some local musicians.
Two special dogs were in the parade — search and rescue dogs with their handlers — from the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) based in Bowling Green.
Mathews encouraged everyone to attend the Living Windows displays from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.
See photo gallery for more pictures of the parade.