Crestview Main Street Association's annual Christmas Parade should go off without a hitch, based on residents' reactions from our article on new restrictions.
The parade was front-page, "above-the-fold" news last year for reasons that organizers and most readers wouldn't prefer. A Pensacola preacher from Save Me from the Fire Ministry used his platform in the procession as a bully pulpit — pun intended — to shout inappropriate things through a bullhorn.
If you were there, you recall the fire-and-brimstone, anti-gay and anti-Santa Claus remarks, which ignited residents' ire. Neither the comments, nor the tone, were appropriate for a public, non-denominational and family-friendly event.
I had to pen a few columns on this because of the initial incident, which seemed antithetical for a Christian who shouldn't judge; the fallout after some residents bullied the preacher, who had to close his Facebook page; and Save Me from the Fire's seemingly fanning the flames, as its home page displayed disparaging comments about Crestview.
It was a mess; Main Street officers knew that and said they would take steps to ensure things go more smoothly this year.
First, the parade application states, "The only audio to be broadcast by entrants is Christmas music."
That'll help ensure history doesn't repeat. And I enjoy editorial cartoonist Ryan Massengill's depiction of this new rule:
But I digress. (Something I do often in this column, if you're a regular reader!)
Perhaps the next best thing on Main Street's list is coordinating with CSX representatives to ensure no trains interrupt the event.
And organizers are stopping parade entrants from stopping at the reviewing stand and otherwise causing traffic jams.
These steps, among others discussed during a mandatory meeting last night for representatives of parade participants — another wise move — are encouraging.
I'd like to think they ensure that Crestview's 2013 parade will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Find out on Saturday, when the procession begins at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Crestview.