Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 27, 2013

Weather doesn't slow Christmas spirit for Ashland parade

Lana Bellamy
The Independent

ASHLAND — The annual Ashland Christmas parade collided with wet November weather Tuesday night. It still managed to give the committed crowd a spirited show despite the rain and wind.

As usual, the parade included holiday staples, like Santa Claus, various local school organizations on lavish floats and friendly sights and sounds from fire trucks.

But a special spotlight was on this year’s grand marshal, Mr. Cartoon Jule Huffman, drawing in a nostalgic crowd eager to see the face of the man who brings back many childhood memories.

Jo Lucas remembered her children enjoying his popular show.

“When my kids were young, they would come home from school and around 4 p.m. they’d have his show on, so my kids kind of grew up with Mr. Cartoon,” Lucas said. “I was wondering what had ever happened to him, but I heard he was the Grand Marshall so I wanted to come out and see him.”

Kevin and Tammy Humphrey, whose freshman daughter was in the parade as part of the Key Club at Boyd County High School, also remember when Mr. Cartoon’s show was hotly demanded.

“Used to be the only cartoon show around back in our day,” Kevin said.

Unfortunately for fans, Mr. Cartoon was unable to brave the dreary weather for his anticipated appearance, given that he has been under the weather the past few days.

Matt Bevin from Louisville, political opponent of Mitch McConnell in the upcoming U.S. Senate primaries, made a special appearance in the parade with his family in a slick Dodge Charger. However, the car’s battery died near the viewing stand in the center of the parade. The car was eventually pushed to the side where the family enjoyed viewing the rest of the parade.

But if Mr. Cartoon was motivation for the old, Santa was most anticipated by the young.

Lucas’ granddaughter, Chelsey, 8, said she only had one item on her wish list for St. Nick.

“I want a doll!” she said. A Baby Alive doll, to be exact.

Her grandson, Dylan, 12, looked on at the festivities with matched enthusiasm.

While Mr. Cartoon drew in the older crowd and Santa engaged the young, holiday tradition attracted many to the event as well.

Corie Williams and boyfriend Brian Gross stood together near the head of the parade with umbrellas and hot chocolate to keep warm.

Williams has faithfully attended each parade since she moved to Ashland 11 years ago.

“It really puts you in the holiday spirit,” she said.