Rector Celebrates with Parade, Community Gathering
The holiday came to life Monday night, as the community turned out in droves to celebrate the season with the annual Rector Christmas Parade and Community Gathering.
The event began with the lights and sounds of the parade, which took advantage of the warmer-than-usual December conditions. Led by Grand Marshal Lura Temerian, the parade included the Marching Cougars, the National Guard Color Guard, RHS cheerleaders, area beauty queens and intricately designed floats. The winning float entry was the brightly-colored Cougar 4-H sleigh, with the organization receiving a $100 prize from the Rector Area Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event.
Children gathered along the parade route laughed and cheered as the parade entries passed by, many tossing handfuls of candy to the young onlookers. The parade set a festive tone for an evening filled with celebration.
The parade included a fleet of emergency vehicles from Rector, Marmaduke and Greenway.
Businesses throughout the community took part in decorating for the event. Rector Barber and Style received top prize for their store decorations, winning the $25 prize provided by the Rector Area Chamber of Commerce.
A crowd of hundreds united at the Rector Community Center after the parade for the Community Gathering. Mayor David Freeman welcomed everyone to the center, thanking all the volunteers who made the event possible.
Children gathered around Santa Claus, sharing their last minute holiday wishes with jolly Saint Nick.
The crowd enjoyed Christmas cookies and hot chocolate during a program filled with talented performers.
Music teacher and choir director Melinda Van Aalsburg led Rector second and third grade students to the stage to sing a medley of Christmas favorites. Band director Daniel Van Aalsburg and the RES sixth grade band members kept the festive spirit in full swing with a selection of holiday favorites. The high school choir performed next, uniting their lovely voices for an elegant performance. The high school band served as a fitting finale to the evening, giving an outstanding performance of three movements of "The Nutcracker Suite," "Salvation is Created" and "The Ukranian Bell Carol" to the delight of the audience, receiving a standing ovation.
As the event concluded, many in attendance noted the importance of community fellowship and the value of the Rector Community Center in planning and hosting occasions such as this.