Christmas came early to downtown Bedford on Saturday, as Christmas Around the Square, hosted by Bedford Revitalization Inc., as well as the annual Bedford Christmas Parade took over the area and brought with them plenty of holiday-themed fun.
Such festivities included a free live reindeer exhibit at Harp Commons and a free photo-op with Santa Claus.
One child who got his photo taken with Santa, Nathaniel Michael, asked Santa for just one special gift.
“A guitar,” Michael said he requested.
Local vendors, including 812 BBQ, Hoover’s Candy Shop and Honeymade Farms also set-up between 15th and 16th Streets during the afternoon, giving visitors the chance to shop their offerings.
Perhaps the biggest draw of the evening was the annual Christmas parade, marshaled this year by the Winnefeld Family, Michael, Carol and Lauren, who represent the Batcole Foundation.
The Batcole Foundation was created by Michael and Carol in honor of their son, Cole Winnefeld, who passed away after a battle with Stage IV neuroblastoma on July 29, 2015.
Cole, who was 11 years old at the time of his passing, was a big superhero fan, particularly of the iconic DC Comics character Batman, which was the inspiration behind the foundation’s name.
Now, the family utilizes the non-profit to help increase awareness and research related to neuroblastoma and other pediatric cancers. The foundation also assists families that have children fighting pediatric cancer.
The route for the parade moved through the city, beginning at the intersection of M and 15th Streets and ending at the corner of 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue.
Though the parade began at 6 p.m., onlookers brought out their best lawn chairs and warmest blankets to begin lining up much earlier along the route to secure the best viewing location possible.
The Brain Family were some of those who got out to the event early.
“We got here about two hours ago,” said Dustin Brain at around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
His wife, Rebekah, noted that the family had taken time upon their arrival to visit the reindeer exhibit near their lawn chair setup on 16th Street.
Attending the parade is an annual tradition for the family, according to Dustin. He said the event serves as a way for them to create memorable moments with their children, Allen, Katie, and Sarah.
“It’s a good way to make Christmas memories,” Dustin said.
“It’s a good way to spend time with the kids,” Rebekah added.
Parade award winners
To be considered to be judged for the parade, entrants were required to be in their lineup position by 4:30 p.m. Judges selected the following winning entries of those that were available at that time.
- Award of Excellence: Painting a New Legacy
- Award of Excellence: Bedford First Wesleyan Church
- Award of Excellence: BNL Marching Stars
Best Parade Entry
Best Lighted Entry
- Bedford Indiana Jeepers
Christmas Spirit Award
- Bedford First Wesleyan Church
- Most Festive: Sew Fun
- Award of Excellence: Luallen Masonry and Construction
- Most Festive: Shrine Club
- Award of Excellence: Cub Scout Pack 196
- Reggie and Rebecca Nikirk
- Award of Excellence: Pleasant Run Fire Department
- Lawrence County Solid Waste District