FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. — The Greencastle and Waynesboro communities kicked off the holiday season on Saturday with their annual Christmas parades.
Hours before the first drum beat, eager parade-goers tried to claim the best spot along the parade route by placing chairs where they hoped to get the best vantage point.
At both parades, children were buzzing with excitement about the impending arrival of Santa Claus, which always comes at the end of the parade.
But Madison Dice, 5, of Marion, Pa., literally had visions of sugarplums dancing in her head.
Knowing that she would leave the parade with a stash of candy, she brought a plastic bag preparing for the sugary goodies that were to be tossed.
"She enjoys them throwing candy, and I enjoy the bands," said Jenniffer Dice, Madison's mother.
For Madison's family, enjoying the parade was a family affair.
Dice came to the Waynesboro Christmas Parade with her mother, two sisters and her brother's family.
"We're having a great time," Dice said.
They already had attended the Greencastle Christmas parade in the morning and planned to go to Chambersburg's Christmas parade Saturday night.
Police cruisers opened both parades, leading the way for the legion of dancers, bands and decorative floats to pass through downtown Greencastle and Waynesboro to entertain the hundreds of parade-goers lining the streets.
"Jingle Bells" was a popular holiday favorite for many of the bands that couldn't resist getting into the spirit of the season by decorating their instruments with tinsel and bows.
The crowds chuckled when dogs decked out in holiday attire passed by, and were wowed by the dance moves of the Hub City Lindy Hop.
The Greencastle Christmas parade starts the holiday season for Nicole Thuahnai of Greencastle.
Typically, her family tags a live Christmas tree after the parade.
She couldn't wait to see her 13-year-old daughter Alexis strut her stuff in the parade with Clarissa's School of Performing Arts in Greencastle.
Alexis' friend Carly Mosser, 14, came to support her and enjoy the bands, floats and Christmas cheer.
"It gets you in the Christmas spirit, and the kids enjoy seeing Santa," she said. "I like listening to the music and seeing how the floats are decorated. Some of them are pretty cool."
Shelley Baer, 31, of Waynesboro, has been going to the Waynesboro parade for as long as she can remember. But it's different now that she has a 2-year-old great-nephew.
"I like the parade, but really I like watching Donnie watching the parade," Baer said. "That's what a parade is all about — the children."