With blue skies, a nice breeze and temperatures in the middle 70’s, The Foliage Sertoma Club of Apopka rolled out its 39th Annual Apopka Christmas Parade.
An estimated crowd of 25,000 watched as approximately 100 floats, vehicles, musicians and displays passed by with the common theme of “Christmas Bells are Ringing.”
The parade originated in 1967 with the Apopka Chamber of Commerce in charge. In 1974, the Foliage Sertoma Club took over the event and has managed it ever since. It has become the largest parade in Orange County according to Parade Chairman Steve Deviese.
But size was never the goal according to Joyce Brocker.
"We see this parade as a chance to give back to Apopka," said Brocker, a former Foliage Sertoma President. “It’s for the enjoyment of our community.”
The parade costs are estimated to be around $6,000, which is raised by entry fees, private donations and business sponsorships.
Bob Rosen was this year's Parade Grand Marshall and rode in the lead car. Rosen is a retired Navy Submarine Commander and a current member of the Apopka Rotary Club. Chairman Deviese and Pat McGuffin was the Co-Master of Ceremonies; McGuffin was also honored as the Sertoman of the Year.
Five marching bands represented Apopka, Wekiva, Ocoee, Evans and Jones high schools. Principals and the homecoming kings and queens from Wekiva and Apopka high schools rode in front of their respective bands.