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Odessa residents prepare for Christmas parade - Odessa American: Local News

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Odessa residents prepare for Christmas parade

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Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 12:00 am

While some families are focusing on Thanksgiving recipes, others are busy with paint, Christmas lights and power tools.

The Eilers and Severse families have already started work on their float for the Dec. 4 Heritage Holiday Parade of Lights, Ace Transportation manager Pat Eilers said.

The Ace Transportation team will be entering a float in the parade for the 18th consecutive year, Eilers said.

“We love it,” Eilers said. “We like the crowd’s enthusiasm.”

The parade has become a tradition for the two families and multiple generations can be found painting, sawing wood and arranging Christmas lights for their “Cars”-themed float, Eilers said.

Even 10-year-old Dustin Eilers and 7-year-old Corey Eilers, Pat’s grandsons, try to help out.

“I help out sometimes. He doesn’t help out at all. He just makes a lot of noise,” Dustin said teasing his younger brother.

Others interested in entering a float must submit an application and application fee, Heritage Holiday board member Andrea Goodson said.

The floats fall into three categories: schools, community organizations and commercial and business, Goodson said.

While there is no entry fee for floats entered in the school category, those entering in the community organizations category must pay a $25 entry fee. Commercial and business floats must pay a $50 entry fee.

Floats entered in the parade have the opportunity to win cash prizes in their category and an overall award for most points called the mayor’s award, Goodson said.

Some people are entering floats in the parade for the first time.

The students and faculty at Richard Milburn Academy decided to enter a float in the parade for the first time this year, student council sponsor Helen Jansen said.

Last year one of the academy’s teachers was watching the parade with her husband when he asked her why her school didn’t enter a float, Jansen said.

The teacher, whose husband has an 18-wheeler, suggested the float be made a schoolwide project and offered the use of her husband’s semi-tractor trailer, Jansen said.

While the student council is spearheading the project, all Academy students are invited to participate, Jansen said, adding that student response to the project has been positive.

“They’re coming up with all of these different ideas,” Jansen said.

Floats aren’t the only thing on people’s minds. The Permian High School marching band has already begun looking at music and will be performing a medley of Christmas music, band director Michael Watts said.

The band members are looking forward to performing, Watts said.

“It’s one of the neater things we do,” Watts said.

Whether people are planning the parade, building floats or practicing music the parade preparations require a lot of work from participants.

“But it can also be a lot of fun,” float builder Randy Severse said.

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