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Christmas Parachutes Into a Parade and Yules Up Sweaty Bed Races in Flagler Beach

| December 3, 2011

Santa's landing. Click on the image for larger view. (FlaglerLive)

It was Christmas overload in Flagler Beach Saturday afternoon as the town hosted a double-header that began with the annual Christmas parade at 1 p.m. and didn’t end until almost dusk with the award ceremony for the third annual Flagler Fun Coast Bed Race.

The parade seemed to last long enough to stretch into next spring: it was an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sort of parade, including the usual vintage politicians, vintage cars, a half dozen churches with a demographic explosion of manger scenes (at least one of them featuring a live baby), dance troops, boy scout troops, bands, women’s and other clubs, the Turtle Patrol, Cappy the Clown (not in the parade, Cappy, but might as well have been), fire departments, cops, ambulances and other siren songs, a clump of would-be politicians–including one in his own towering Pope-mobile–an aging Superman, and then a procession of local businesses that would have seemed oddly out of place in a Christmas parade had it not been for the graces they were buying by launching candy and beads to throngs along the parade route. There may well have been a kitchen sink in there somewhere.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that there could very well have been more people in the parade than watching it, though the attending crowd was significant enough in the five or six central-most blocks by the pier and north of it that Flagler Beach could have called itself occupied from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The parade actually ended 75 minutes after it started, dispelling the rumor that it would not end until the three kings found their way to Bethlehem (assuming they made their way past Israeli check-points with all those mysterious packages).

Then it was off to the races.

Sixteen or 17 beds were entered this year, 15 actually raced, and 14 finished (Matanzas High School’s Interact Club’s bed had a malfunction and Houston couldn’t fix it). The race features exactly that: beds, on rollers, handled by teams of five, with one of the five having to be on the bed itself. The beds are raced down South Central Avenue for a couple of blocks, halting at four pit stops where the contestants must manage minor feats of luck and dexterity: at one of the stops, four teammates line up at a certain distance from their fifth teammate and shoot goldfish at his or her gaping mouth. They can’t stop until a goldfish makes it in there. At another stop the contestants must pick out the right sized pillow case from a bunch, fit it on a pillow than unfit it, and carry on. The race is timed, and beds race in pairs.

For a while it looked as if the Flagler County School Board’s Graduate One bed, made to look like a school bus, was going to be the winner. It clocked in at an impressive 4 minutes and 42 seconds, with Colleen Conklin, one of the school board members, as the rider and fellow-board member Trevor Tucker as one of runners. (Sue Dickinson was there but out of action due to a recent foot injury, and Andy Dance showed up soon after the race.) But Snack Jack’s Jamaican Bobsled Team proved too difficult to beat for everyone: they clocked in at 4:21, and Sea Ray Boats’s Island Hoppers bed came in second, at 4:40, just two seconds ahead of the school bus.

Here’s a photo gallery that stretches almost as long as the parade. Merry Christmas. (For best, large-screen viewing, click on one of the images rather than on the slideshow link. The images will be identified later.)

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13 Responses for “Christmas Parachutes Into a Parade and Yules Up Sweaty Bed Races in Flagler Beach”

  1. Karen Cooney O'Grady via Facebook says:

    Had a great time…thank you Flagler Beach!!!

  2. Steve Wood says:

    It was a Saturday afternoon with something to do in this little beach side town that everyone loves so they say. I suppose NOW we are going to have to be politically correct so NO ones feelings are hurt and just NOT have a Christmas Parade. I for one as a witness to the enjoyment that the parade brings to everyone that took the time whether it was 75 or 30 minutes to come to town to see Santa and have a nice day. I personally was the driving the past last vehicle in the parade and was able to see the excitement in the little kids and the BIG kids when SANTA came on the FIRE TRUCK is what the whole day was about not NOT caring about how long the parade was but just enjoying something happening on a Saturday afternoon. And what a parade it would be with NO candy throwing. BAH HUM BUG to all of those who want to be critical of what some caring people want to do for the enjoyment of others. lighten up.

  3. kmedley says:

    Where was Trevor? It’s just not a parade without Trevor and his shovel! LOL!

  4. Merilyn L Collins via Facebook says:

    Flagler is so great, wish I could have been there this weekend.

  5. Liliana Leon via Facebook says:

    I can’t believe I missed this!!!!!!

  6. Cindy D. says:

    What a wonderful weekend in Flagler Beach. Great pictures FlaglerLive!

  7. dot zaw says:

    how can we find the video they were taking

  8. more rules are't the answer says:

    Yeah and there is Santa parachuting in within a 150′ of the pier. All the fisherman were of course whinning again……..

  9. Even if it went on forever, it was a great parade for a small beach town and we pride ourselves on it.

  10. Carol Fisher says:

    What a fantastic weekend in Flagler Beach! Thank you FlaglerLive for covering all the events, and for posting so many great photos! I worked all day, so didn’t get a chance to see the parade, and appreciate the photos.

  11. more rules are't the answer says:

    There is santa parachuting in within 150 feet of the pier. of course the fishermen complained……

  12. Joyce Cantrell says:

    I forgot my camera. The parade was great. Did anyone get a good picture of the First Baptist Church float? I need that one please. Thanks

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