Christmas parade organizers mull ways to curb public disapproval

Main Street Crestview board

Main Street Crestview Association members, including President Ellis Conner, Patti Gonzo, Cal Zethmayr, Viola Owens, Rae Schwartz and Pat Hollarn discuss possible ways to include controversial applicants in future Christmas parades. Dec. 1, a parade entrant who shouted obscenities at the crowd and denied Santa Claus’ existence, caused widespread outrage among residents.

MATTHEW BROWN | News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 02:52 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Designating Christmas parade participants’ positions and providing a roster of entrants to the public are two ways the Main Street Crestview Association may curb patrons’ disappointment with controversial entrants, members said Wednesday. 

The committee plans to speak with city attorney Jerry Miller and city council members before making formal decisions on the matter. 

Members evaluated last weekend’s parade, which drew criticism from a number of News Bulletin readers offended by Save Me from the Fire ministry’s truck. Student minister James Forrester shouted disparaging remarks about homosexuals, said Santa Claus isn’t real and damned parade attendees to hell.  

Following the parade, the News Bulletin’s website,, and its Facebook page received hundreds of comments expressing outrage from the incident. The Main Street Crestview Association’s City Hall-based office also has received comments from concerned residents.

"We didn't want people to think that we are just going to turn a blind eye to this," Main Street member Rae Schwartz said. "I came with some concerns and I want to help fix it."

Other members at Wednesday’s meeting included Main Street President Ellis Conner, Patti Gonzo, Viola Owens, Cal Zethmayr and Pat Hollarn.

The group discussed possible steps to prevent a similar situation from happening at future Christmas parades.

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