Local News

Huge turnout for Plano Rockin’ Christmas Parade

Throng lines downtown Main Street for annual holiday motorcade

PLANO – People cheered and waved for the spectacularly decorated cars and trucks that passed by for the Plano Rockin’ Christmas Parade.

A huge crowd estimated at well over 1,000 people lined the city’s downtown Main Street to witness the holiday caravan on a clear Dec. 3 evening.

Families and friends stood along the sidewalks in front of brightly decorated business storefronts to watch the vehicles roll by.

The people were heavily concentrated in front of the Plano Train Depot, the Yuletide celebration’s focal point.

Santa Claus drove past the crowd in a vintage automobile, a green Christmas wreath mounted on the front grille, as he waived to all the good little girls and boys.

People cheered for the Little Rock-Fox Fire Protection District as firefighters sounded their sirens from engines and other vehicles emblazoned with flashing lights.

Plano’s thriving business community was well-represented, along with community organizations.

There were cars, full-size trucks, jeeps, pick-ups pulling trailers, antique automobiles and even a school bus, all decked out with dazzling light displays.

Both event organizers and casual observers agreed that the attendance for this year’s parade was the biggest ever.

“It’s a great turnout,” said life-long Plano resident Cindy Fuchs, who was watching the parade with her sister Gayla Struck. “I’ve never seen this many people,” Fuchs said.

Some people had planned their visit while for others it was a spur-of-the-moment decision.

Mindy Chrestman of Sandwich brought her son Tucker, 4, and daughter Macie, 7. They arrived early to stake out a premium spot in front of the depot.

So did local Plano businessman Gary Arriola, who brought son GG, 6, daughter Lelu, 8 and wife Adriana. The family sat in the open tailgate of their vehicle to watch the parade.

Katy Deinert of Plano and her mother Janet Deinert of Yorkville were standing at the corner of Main and Hugh streets.

My daughter called and said it would be something to do,” Janet said. “It’s a gorgeous night.”

The parade vehicles assembled at Plano High School before making a beeline for the Main Street crowd.

After passing through the downtown, the parade made a giant loop through the entire city for more people to enjoy, before eventually returning to the train depot.

Meanwhile, the crowd gathered around the train depot to drink hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music from Plano school students.

As the fifth and sixth-grade choir from Emily Johns School sang holiday tunes and performed a choreographed routine, adoring parents took photos and videos with their cell phone cameras.

It was the same for a band made up of students from both Emily Johns and Plano Middle School.

Music faculty including choir director Amy Kastel, band leader Kevin McCammon and music teacher Elizabeth Schroeder brought out the best from their students.

Then Mayor Mike Rennels performed the honors and flipped the switch to light up the train depot building and surrounding trees, bathing the scene in a white glow.

Rennels and Plano Chamber Director Deana Lanham followed up with several awards presentations.

There were two Ross Greiter Spirit Award winners, one for 2020 and one for this year, honoring Plano residents who give unselfishly to help others. (A story on the award presentation will be posted tomorrow, Sunday, on KendallCountyNow.com )

The winner for 2020 was Kathy Benoit, while this year’s honoree is Denel Whitmer.

The chamber honored the Xtreme Team landscaping business with the trophy for the Rockin’ Christmas Window Decorating Contest.

Lanham presented the award to Xtreme Team owners Nick and Brandie Fanning.

The Rockin’ Christmas Parade served as a fund-raiser for the Holiday Dinners Fund. Parade vehicles paid an entry fee and businesses all over the community accepted donations for the fund.