TORONTO - Seven-year-old Andrea Reeves was a little starstruck Saturday night.
The Toronto youngster, a sequinned Santa hat perched on her head and a bag of candy clutched in her arms, had just seen you-know-who riding in a sleigh at the tail end of Toronto's Christmas parade.
Make no mistake, little Andrea was, well, ecstatic: The Big Man had seen her. She said he'd waved at her. She thinks he might even have winked.
THE SEASON FOR PARADES — Marching bands, dancers and a host of floats helped usher the holiday season in Saturday evening in Toronto. The city’s annual Christmas parade had 47 entries, including this float sponsored by the Jefferson County Fair.
All of which makes her pretty optimistic that come Christmas morning, she just might find that iPod she really, really wants under the tree.
"Seeing Santa," in fact, was the best part of the night, she said. Even better than being able to fill her bag with lollipops, candy canes and TootsieRolls distributed along the parade route.
The parade, held under the streetlights, featured 47 units - everything from firetrucks and police cruisers to the Toronto High School homecoming court, local businesses, dancers and youth groups was represented. Edison High School's Wildcat band was positioned just behind the emergency vehicles at the front of the parade, while Toronto High's Red Knight band serenaded Santa and his helpers with holiday music as they brought up the rear.
Will Zullo, 8, his little brother Ben, 7, and 4-year-old Kaylee Applegarth stood quietly on the street corner for more than 30 minutes waiting for things to get started.
The big attraction?
"Santa, oh yeah," Ben said, nodding happily.
"The candy," Will corrected.
Janet Brown of Toronto watched the parade from her front porch with her brother, Charlie Brown, and his wife, Beverly.
"We've been doing it about 18 years," Beverly Brown said. "We don't live here, we live on 213. We just come here to stand on her porch."
Judges awarded first place honors in the float categorty to The Laurels of Steubenville. Placing second was Toronto Apothecary and Cub Scout Pack 47, third.
Scoring highest among the performance entries were Powers Martial Arts, first; Sassy's Shakers, second; and Gem City Dance, third.