110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Parade-watchers cast their ballots online
posted Dec 13, 2012 - 6:30:21am
Six first-place winners were named: the DeLand High School Marching Bulldog Band, Stetson University, the Garden Club of DeLand, Frontier Communications, Blue Lake Elementary School, and a walking entry named Christmas Dog & Elf.
Parade organizers worked with The Beacon to create online voting, with the goal of a faster-moving parade. In the past, entries would stop in front of the judges' stand to perform for a minute or two, creating large gaps in the parade and slowing its progress down Woodland Boulevard in Downtown DeLand.
The experiment worked. Despite having nearly 100 entries this year, the parade lasted only about 90 minutes. In the past, a parade of more than two hours was not unusual.
Parade Chairman Mark Thompson liked the online voting.
"I loved it," Thompson said. "I think it was more of a consensus of the community."
Another change made this year, back to a daytime parade, also seemed to accomplish the goal of discouraging people from leaving trash on the streets after watching the parade. The City of DeLand urged the switch, to save money on the cost of city employees working the parade route.
The parade committee went a step further, by prohibiting all handouts except candy. It worked to cut litter, Thompson said.
"There was a lot less," he said. "There was a lot more of the trash receptacles being used."
Online votes started rolling in as the parade was in progress Dec. 1, and trends quickly took shape as favorites were picked.
Parade attendees were given a week to cast their ballots, and by the time voting ended Dec. 8, a total of 1,235 votes had been cast. Only one vote per computer was allowed.
Online voters selected first-, second- and third-place winners in six categories: Band/Musical Entry, Commercial Float, Decorated Auto, Nonprofit Float, Walking Units, and Pets, Wheels and Dolls.
The winners are listed below.
First place — DeLand High School Marching Band
Second place — Millenium Musicians Elementary Band
Third place — Tie between the Blue Lake Elementary Band and Southwestern Middle School Band
First place — Frontier Communications
Second place — DeLand Animal Hospital
Third place — Boulevard Tire Center
First place — Teacher of the Year
Second place — Worlds Our Little Miss
Third place — DeLand Little League
First place — Stetson University
Second place — Volusia Pines Elementary School
Third place — Woodward Avenue/Starke Elementary
Pets, Wheels and Dolls
First place — Christmas Dog & Elf
Second place — Barn Brats 4H
Third place — Freestyle Fanatic
First place — Garden Club of DeLand
Second place — Stetson DANCE Club Sport
Third place — Cub Scouts DeLand Pack 725
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