Brenda Lee

Musical icon Brenda Lee, the grand marshal, proved to be a big hit Saturday during the 55th annual Cowan Christmas Parade.

The weather was described by all as “perfect” for this year’s 55th annual Cowan Christmas Parade, which kicked-off on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Plenty of Christmas cheer was on hand at the festive and family-friendly event with an estimated 1,000 spectators lining the parade route, which began at Cumberland Street West and Stuart Lane and proceeded through downtown Cowan before finally ending at Cowan Elementary School.

Dozens of Christmas-themed floats delighted the crowd as this year’s theme was “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”

Lead by several vehicles representing Franklin County’s public safety professionals, this year’s grand marshal was singer and performer Brenda Lee, a top-charting solo female vocalist of the 1960s.

Lee had 47 hits on the music charts in the 1960s, including this year’s parade theme’s namesake, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

Lee rode in a float which was elegantly decorated to look like Santa’s sleigh, and local vocalist and performer Alison McCormick and her drummer, Mitch McElwain, rode as guests of honor with Lee.

WZYX Radio’s Jeff Pennington was this year’s local grand marshal and rode in a classic Ford convertible automobile.

The Alhambra Shrine’s “Tin Lizzie Unit” was on hand, racing in their signature mini go-carts among the floats in the parade, and their daredevil antics wowed and delighted the many children gathered to watch the parade.

Several area schools were represented, including the North and South Middle School bands, the Huntland School band, and the Franklin County High School band.

North Middle School also had a float bearing the varsity and junior varsity soccer Gatorettes and another with the NMS cheerleaders, while Rock Creek Elementary School had a float filled with the Lady Rockets basketball team.

Cowan Elementary School students rode in a float bearing the “Best of Parade” award, and its theme honored the bravery and sacrifice of those American lives lost at Pearl Harbor.

Students wearing clothing appropriate for the Pearl Harbor event’s era marched in front of the float and held signs which read “We Remember” and “December 7th.”

The Franklin County Pee Wee cheerleaders demonstrated their Christmas spirit by walking in formation while wearing their Rebel-themed cheerleading outfits and pompoms with red Santa hats.

Finally, Franklin County 4-H students rode on a float while playing musical instruments around their Christmas tree.

This year’s “Best Church Entry” went to St. Agnes Episcopal Church and featured a group of mechanical elves dancing around a Christmas tree.

The winner for this year’s “Best Individual” award went to a float crewed by Legacy Dance Studio students.

This year’s “Best Civic Float” went to the Keith Springs Volunteer Fire Department which bore a jumpsuit-clad Elvis and his elves rocking around the Christmas tree.

The “Best Small Business” award went to an impressively constructed miniature Noah’s Ark Country Playset from Country Barn Construction of Belvidere.

There were several antique tractors that delighted the agricultural enthusiasts in the crowd, including this year’s “Best Tractor” award winner, a red antique Massey Ferguson tractor driven by Thomas Hill.

This year’s “Best Antique Car” went to Jenny Bates while this year’s “Best Equestrian” award went to Rachael Densmore.

Cowan Christmas Parade Committee members included Chuck Stines, Joyce Brown, Lori Ashley, Mary Pearson, Virginia Sawyer and Cindy Henn.

Sponsors were Rogers Group, Fiesta Grill, Hall Furniture Superstore, Linda’s Market, Cowan Market, Cowan Development Company, Sweet Southern Spirit Cake and Candy, Dr. Bryan Elkins DDS, the City of Cowan, Ashley Sells Photography, Citizens Tri-County Bank, Watson-North Funeral Home, Cremation Center and Memorial Park,

Southern Tennessee Regional Health System, A&E Emergency Services, LLC, Tinsley Asphalt, CJ’s Automotive and Tire, Diversatech Plastics Group, LLC, Daves-Culbertson Funeral Home, Bean, Rhoton, and Kelly, PLLC Certified Public Accountants,

Franklin County Financial Services, Hethcoat Davis, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, Franklin County Lumber Company, Pioneer Motorcycles, Johnson and Associates Land Surveyors,, Simple Expressions, Moore-Cortner Funeral Home, St. Agnes Episcopal Church, Raymond and Rebecca Council, Walmart, NAPA, and Steve and Rose Pearson.

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