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As the season of joy unfolds, communities around the nation are gearing up for various Christmas celebrations and traditions. 

One of the most recent community celebrations that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in is the vibrant festivities of the Roanoke Rapids Christmas Parade, a heartwarming event that brought together the community and showcased the holiday spirit. 

Last year, the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District had the distinct honor of being the grand marshal in the parade, a gesture that recognized the dedicated efforts of all district employees. The experience was so delightful that the decision was made to participate once again this year, contributing to the festive atmosphere that marks the season.

Clara Hearne Pre-K Center entered a captivating float for the RRGSD employees to ride on and Jarrett Parker graciously volunteered his time to pull the float. 

The float, more specifically a wagon, generously loaned by Clements Family Farms, was adorned with beautiful swags and bows crafted by the talented Shelley Williams with additional wreaths, garlands, and bows provided by Tony and Betty Martin. 

This collaboration, aided by the skillful hands of Clara Hearne and district staff, transformed the float into a festive spectacle, spreading joy to spectators along the parade route. 

The parade judges must have liked what they saw, with the float earning an honorable mention in the Christmas float category. 

In addition to the parade, the district will embrace the holiday spirit with various Christmas-themed activities and spirit weeks. 

Clara Hearne kicked off their celebration on Monday by hosting Milk & Cookies with Santa, providing a delightful chance for the parents and students to gather with staff, share treats, and capture precious moments with Santa Claus. 

They will also participate in Christmas Colors Day, Christmas Sock Day, Festive Wednesday — Christmas sweater or shirt — Winter Wonderland Day, and Candy Cane Day. 

The festive atmosphere continues across the district. 

Belmont and Manning schools already celebrated Whobilation and Milk & Cookies with Santa & the Grinch, and they also have organized their own Christmas spirit weeks, culminating in a range of creative and spirited outfits. 

There will be red and green, holiday headgear, and of course the beloved pajama day. 

Roanoke Rapids High School will also embrace the holiday season with themed days, including Holiday Pajamas, Ugly Sweater Day, Holiday Movie Character Day, and Holiday Hat Day. Roanoke Rapids Early College will also be celebrating, but they will be completing the end of semester testing this week. 

Central Services employees are showcasing their festive side with a week-long celebration, featuring themes like Channel Your Flannel, Holiday Headgear, and Wear Your Christmas PJ's. The diverse participation across the district demonstrates a shared commitment to making the holiday season memorable for everyone.

Looking ahead, there are more exciting holiday events on the horizon. 

On December 19th at 6 p.m. Christmas at the Castle promises to be a magical evening featuring performances by the RRHS Chorus and Band. 

Attendees can also expect a visit from Santa, the soft glow of candles in the Senior Building windows, and opportunities to purchase mugs with hot chocolate, ornaments, and T-shirts to commemorate the event. 

As the Roanoke Rapids community continues to embrace the holiday spirit, these events serve as a testament to the power of coming together, spreading joy, and creating lasting memories during the most wonderful time of the year.