Hundreds line streets to greet onset of season

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Diana Klink has been a common sight in the Suffolk Christmas parade for years. It’s just that until the 2004 event on Saturday morning, no one knew that it was her.

&uot;I’ve always been Mr. Peanut,&uot; said Klink, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney. This year, someone else decided to don the costume of the city’s mascot, leaving Klink to hand out candy with some of her young friends.


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&uot;The main focus is that we’re trying to raffle off the pedal cars,&uot; she said, referencing the foot-powered vehicles that the children drove around the float. The display, put together by a committee of city volunteers, won first prize in the non-commercial category of the Norfolk Grand Illumination last month.

&uot;It’s great to be out here,&uot; Klink said. &uot;It’s enjoyable to see all the people and spread the holiday spirit downtown.&uot;

It’s a spreading that Jodie Baker has been enjoying for decades.

&uot;I’ve been coming out here since I was a tot myself, almost 30 years ago,&uot; Baker said, cradling her baby bulldog Bailey, herself adorned in a blanket.

&uot;The drums are scaring her,&uot; Baker said of her four-legged friend. &uot;She’s the baby in the family. She’ll get some new toys and a blanket for Christmas. I like to listen to the fire trucks and I love the bands; the music gets you in the spirit.&uot; Bands from Nansemond River and Windsor High entertained the crowd with their holiday renditions.

Local organizations such as the Suffolk YMCA, Triple T Gymnastics, the Bennett’s Creek Intrepids softball team, the Special Olympics, several step dance teams and horseback riding clubs took part in the march up West Washington Street.

&uot;It’s fun to watch them,&uot; said Sarah Smith, 11. &uot;I get to see some of the friendly faces that I know. I’d like to march someday, because it would be fun to walk around and see all the people.&uot;

By now, the parade was winding down. But Danielle Hall, 6, knew she couldn’t leave without one more hello to a very special someone. On the final float, her own guest of honor came by.

&uot;Santa! Santa!&uot; Hall shouted to the man in red and white. &uot;He’s going to give me some presents, like a Strawberry Shortcake doll.

&uot;I just saw him at the (Chesapeake Square) mall,&uot; she said. &uot;I guess his reindeers brought him here!&uot;