The weather may have prevented Cartersville Primary School from officially ending Red Ribbon Week with its signature Book Character Parade Friday, but it didn't stop the annual literary celebration from being a huge success four days later.
More than 1,000 preschoolers, kindergartners, first- and second-graders dressed up as literary figures to pay homage to their favorite books Tuesday morning during the 10th annual parade, which was started by former Principal Walter Gordon.
"This is one of the highlights of the year just because it involves the whole school system," Principal Gina Bishop said. "We've invited [staff] from district office to the elementary school, the middle school, everybody so this is probably one of our largest events that we have all year."
Pushing the parade back a few days, rather than canceling it, turned out to be the best decision for the school, according to Bishop.
"I'm glad that we rescheduled it because I knew that the kids were really going to miss out so it was awesome," she said. "[Superintendent Dr. Marc] Feuerbach and [Cartersville Mayor] Matt Santini started the parade, and we ended with the Incredible Office Staff so I thought it was awesome. All the kids were dressed up. We were very prepared this year."
The 35-minute spectacle snaked its way around the primary school and over to the elementary school next-door, where students ventured outside to line the parade route.
Leading the celebration were Feuerbach, dressed as the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz," and Santini in a golf cart; Booksby, the Bartow County Public Library mascot; and the Cartersville High School Purple Hurricane Marching Band, with some members in costume.
Following the band was a long procession of literary, TV and movie characters, including Harry Potter, Thomas the Tank Engine, Cat in the Hat, Dorothy, Pokemon, Uma, Little Red Riding Hood, Big Bad Wolf, Spongebob, Scooby-Doo, Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Charlotte from "Charlotte's Web," Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio; sports figures like baseball and football players, karateka and a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket; occupations such as firefighters, police officers, astronauts, cowgirls and construction workers; and superheroes like Batman, Superman, The Hulk, Spider-Man and Captain America.
There also were Disney Princesses; mythical unicorns, mermaids and fairies; food like a chocolate chip cookie, pumpkin, carrot and hot dog; animals and insects including dinosaurs, dogs, cats, mice, pigs, deer, ladybugs and bumblebees; Halloween characters like witches, vampires, zombies, scarecrows and skeletons; and miscellaneous characters such as clowns, crayons, pirates, Egyptian queens, ninjas, LEGOs, rockets and Indians.
Winding up the parade was the Cartersville Middle School Marching Band, with some members dressed in costume, followed by Bishop, Vaughan and the rest of the Incredible Office Staff.
One of the most creative costumes belonged to 6-year-old Nevaeh Guffey, who dressed up as The Big Chicken.
The first-grader in Wendy Ross' class said she has never seen or visited the famous Marietta landmark, but she learned about it from a book.
"I have a book [about it], and I got it from when we were first going to first grade, and I got the book," she said.
Nevaeh, whose grandmother, Joanna Lee, helped create her cardboard getup, said she chose The Big Chicken "because I think I'm going to win" the costume contest.
School officials, however, decided not to have the contest this year, said Bishop, who called Nevaeh's costume "awesome."
"Lots of the kids were very creative with their costumes, not just princesses and things like that," she said.
Another imaginative costume was the captain of the Titanic, complete with the ship.
With help from his parents, Lizzi and Brad Galland, second-grader Will Galland created a cardboard replica of the ship that sank a century before he was born to hang from his shoulders and donned a captain's hat.
The 7-year-old said he chose the Titanic costume "because it is one of my favorite things, and I know an awful lot about it, and I love it, and I have a lot of books [about it]."
Assistant Principal Katie Vaughan saw several costumes that she favored.
"I liked the EIP [Early Intervention Program] group, the one that did the Mario Kart," she said. "And then we had Jurassic Park. We had Dog Man. Lots of Fancy Nancys."