Penny Nickle has the honor of driving the 2016 Beaver Dam Parade Honored Veteran, Chuck Embree, a disabled Vietnam Veteran, along the parade route where many spectators called out their thanks, saluted or paid honor to him in their own special way. Nickle said it was a very moving experience. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The Beaver Dam Annual Christmas Parade couldn’t have happened on a more perfect day than the day it felt like Christmas in the desert. On Dec. 17, a mile long line of cars, trucks, ATVs, emergency vehicles, personal vehicles and lawnmowers, yeah lawnmowers, got into a procession that brought the spirit of the season to Beaver Dam and surrounding area residents right along with the downright chilly winds.

Temperatures that day averaged only 35 degrees, turning the tips of many an elf-like ear red and keeping the rosy in everyone’s cheeks.

The blustery winds didn’t keep all who attended from enjoying the parade nor did it keep them from weathering the cold to wait for the arrival of the man of the hour, Santa Claus.

Penny Nickle had the pleasure of driving the Honored Veteran of the parade, Chuck Embree who is a disabled Vietnam Veteran. Nickle said, “Driving Chuck was one of the most touching experiences I’ve ever had. I came to tears several times from the reactions of the crowd. People were so good, they would take off their hats, place their hands over their heart, salute him, holler out thank you. It just was amazing and I just could feel how it was touching him as well. It was so touching that it made me cry. I can only imagine how he was feeling especially because of how the Vietnam vets were treated when they came home so it was an awesome experience and I’m glad I got to be the one to drive him.”

Sherri Wooten walks with the Beaver Dam School Lunch ladies and, against all her nutritional good sense, hands out candy to the line of spectators. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Of course the guy in the fancy red suit had to be in one of the vehicles pulling up the rear of the parade. The cold weather didn’t bother him or maybe it did. Santa is, after all, a snowbird who lives right here in Beaver Dam during the winter months going back to the North Pole only on Christmas Eve where his sleigh is packed and waiting for his big trip. Nevertheless, it didn’t bother him enough to stop him from making his way down the road and into the Boutique where crowds of anxious children were waiting to greet him, tell them what they want for Christmas and take their pictures with jolly old elf.

Beaver Dam Elementary School children were anxious to ride on the float in the Beaver Dam Christmas Parade on Dec. 17. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

As the children all stood eagerly awaiting the chance to tell Santa their secret Christmas wish, a couple of cousins were standing in the line and well prepared so that Santa would make no mistake when he was choosing the right package to leave under their tree. Nixon Byington told Santa he wanted a ‘Speed through the city’ Hot Wheels Car in orange and gray. “It comes with one car and a jump and a loopty loop thing. It also has this lift that you can pull the car down and let it zoom, zoom, zoom

This man and his wife need no introductions as they make their way along the parade route to the elementary school and the anxiously waiting children. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

through the city,” Byington said. Shilah Pace, Byington’s cousin, wasn’t leaving any room for error in her description; she brought the wish book with her and showed Santa exactly which dolls and accessories she has been dreaming of on its well-worn pages. Pace’s mother said the little girl has been sleeping with the book under her pillow for a month now, just so Santa wouldn’t be confused about why she’s spent 365 days trying hard not to get put on the naughty list and what her Christmas wish was for.

The Beaver Dam Parade and vendor boutique is something that the folks in Beaver Dam have looked forward to for many years. It’s something that brings the entire community together and in good spirits. Volunteers like Peggy Owen and Donna Applegate along with countless others have spent hours upon hours bringing the Christmas spirit to Beaver Dam and its residents. They did a truly amazing job bringing in the vendors, bringing in the parade participants and bringing a fine Christmas parade, on a blustery day, to Beaver Dam.

Shilah Pace wasn’t leaving any room for error in her description; she brought the wish book with her and showed Santa exactly which dolls and accessories she has been dreaming of on its well-worn pages. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

To view a 133 picture slideshow of the parade please visit: