Flagler Beach, FL (December 4, 2021) His arrival has been the topic of conversation for the past week, and dropping into town faster than a speeding bullet, Santa returned to Flagler Beach via parachute on Saturday at his duly appointed time to the delight of children everywhere.

Landing in the soft sand on the north side of the Flagler Beach Municipal Pier, after greeting the kids the jolly old elf made his way to his place among the 67 participants in the Flagler Beach Holiday Parade, hosted by the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach.

Flagler Beach City Commissioner Rick Belhumeur captains his float in the Flagler Beach Holiday Parade.

The 2020 holiday parade was cancelled due to the pandemic, and the parade’s return has been long awaited by both the community and participants. Organizers saw a high number of registrants eager to take part in the parade and they didn’t disappoint the spectators lining A1A ready to wish a happy holiday to all.

A special moment for 8-year old Jackson who got a shout out from the Jeeps during the 2021 Flagler Beach Holiday Parade on December 4, 2021.

One young man, 8-year old Jackson Hanes received a very special gift, a shout out from the A1A Jeeps group with a poster announcing his birthday, set up by his grandmother Kathy Hanes.

Jackson Hanes gets a birthday surprise from Karen Hanes and Vince Beatty during the holiday parade.

“Some friends of ours are in the Jeep club and my friends Matthew, Cheryl and Debbie did the sign,” she said. “We were looking for something and I was trying to keep him in suspense because we’re celebrating his big day today. It was really awesome.”

Jackson agreed, saying “everything” about the day was “great”.

From festively decked out elected officials to civic organizations and service clubs, the parade buoyed the spirits of those in attendance, especially those still riding the wave of holiday cheer after the previous night’s holiday kickoff of Starry Nights and the return of First Friday.

Grand Living Realty sparkles with the Grinch and a gorgeous Mustang.

“It was a wonderful parade. The floats were excellent and we had a great time,” said Flagler County Judge Andrea Totten, out with her family. “It was a great turnout for First Friday last night. I saw a lot of people I knew and a lot of people I knew again today. I think people are just really grateful to have community events like this to go to.”

Totten says she’s seen an influx of people out at various events and is encouraged by the holiday hospitality people are extending to one another.

“We’ve been having a great turnout at Rotary’s Fantasy Lights as well. I worked the front gate on Tuesday night and we had a great turnout. I’m really glad to see people out and enjoying each other’s company.”

The North Pole makes a stop in Flagler Beach during the 2021 Flagler Beach Holiday Parade on December 4, 2021.

Floats were some of the best in recent memory and participants went all out to express their excitement to the community. Sandra McDermott, a board member of the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach was proud of the work done by her club and the participants to offer the community a quality, family-friendly event.

“We are so happy to be back sponsoring the parade in connection with the City of Flagler Beach,” said McDermott. “We’ve had beautiful weather, tons of people out, everybody is so happy to be outside.”

Lori Ottlein reps the Flagler Turtle Patrol during the 2021 Flagler Beach Holiday Parade on December 4, 2021.

“As far as the entries, immediately people signed up to participate in the parade. We had a limited number, but they came out right away to sign up because everybody loves the parade as much as we do. We are just thrilled to be here,” she said.

While a vehicle fire closed the parade a bit early, the thousands in attendance had plenty of holiday cheer sent their way.

Pirates invade Flagler Beach during the 2021 Flagler Beach Holiday Parade on December 4, 2021.

“I think everyone’s ready to get out. This parade was as large as our largest Fourth of July parade,” said Flagler Beach Mayor Suzie Johnston.

“Last night was a total success. Today even with the car burning, it was still a success. Everyone in the community is still overwhelmed and overjoyed, and it was fun to see everyone out dressing festive. Everyone was congratulating the city. It was great.”

Rotarian Tim O’Donnell hands over the candy to a happy spectator during the 2021 Flagler Beach Holiday Parade on December 4, 2021.

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