It seemed like half of Cartersville turned out for Cartersville Primary School’s Book Character Parade Friday morning.
The kindergartners, first- and second-graders wrapped up Red Ribbon Week and celebrated Halloween at the same time by dressing up as their favorite book characters and parading around the grounds of their school as well as the elementary school next-door.
“The parade is in conjunction with the Red Ribbon/Drug Awareness Week, so they are given an opportunity to represent that ‘My Character Counts’ and dress as their favorite book character,” Assistant Principal Gina Bishop said, noting the school started the parade seven years ago. “Our PTC help organize the parade, and parents and individuals from our community are invited to attend.”
First-year Principal Melissa White, who dressed up as a witch, was a little overwhelmed at the magnitude of the parade, which included the primary and pre-K students, teachers and staff members from both schools, the middle school and high school bands and school board officials.
“It’s an event,” she said. “I did not realize that so much went into creating the parade, but the kids had a blast. The teachers really get involved and had a good time, and it’s a great event for our community. Lots of our community members come out to watch the parade as well. It was more than I had imagined. I thought, oh, just a little low-key parade, but this could’ve been a downtown Cartersville parade. It was awesome.”
The hourlong parade, which brought the elementary school students out of their classrooms to watch it, kicked off with Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley and school board President Linda Benton riding on a vintage fire truck owned and driven by Randy Thompson, followed by the Cartersville High School Marching Hurricanes.
That began a long line of superheroes, princesses, animals, Disney characters like Anna, Maleficent and Cruella de Vil, M&Ms, firemen, police officers and soldiers, baseball and football players, Star Wars villains and Minions.
The Cartersville Middle School Band and a trailer carrying the school administrators signaled the end of the parade.
Once the crowd dispersed and the students were back in their classrooms, each teacher chose a winning costume to represent his or her class in the best-costume competition for each grade level, which was judged by staff members from the Cartersville Public Library.
The kindergarten winner, Will Bullock, dressed up as the conductor from “The Polar Express,” complete with mustache.
“I have this movie,” said the 6-year-old, who watches it every Christmas.
He also said the parade was “awesome.”
Taking the best-costume title for the first grade was 7-year-old Adelynn England, who dressed up as “The Amazing Strong Woman.”
“I was really excited because I really wanted to wear this costume,” she said, adding she also was “excited” about winning.
She also was “excited” about the parade and “just really wanted to dress up for it.”
Connor Whitton, 7, spent every weekend for a month working with his grandfather on his winning costume, a robot from “The Mighty Robot.”
The second-grade winner, whose book was “all about mice,” said being named the best costume was “good.”
The winners received $25 cash and a set of books with stuffed animal characters that match the books.
Second-grader Lexi Saunders, 7, dressed up as the evil witch from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” for the parade.
“I really like this book,” she said.
Lexi, who was Spider-Girl and Elsa from “Frozen” in past parades, said her third parade was “fun,” and she likes participating every year “because we get to dress up, and we get to walk in a big circle and wave to everybody.”
Ramsey Dunn, 5, dressed up as a Civil War soldier.
“I thought nobody would be it so I was just going to be it,” the kindergartner said, adding he likes reading about the Civil War.