Kicking off the holiday season, thousands of West Volusians lined Woodland Boulevard Dec. 7 for the 71st annual DeLand Christmas Parade.

The longtime DeLand tradition was produced for decades by the DeLand Jaycees, and is now presented as a joint effort of the city’s three Rotary clubs.

This year’s parade featured more than 120 entries, including creative floats from local businesses, marching musical acts, and members of local community groups and charities who donned holiday apparel.

Viewers began claiming spots along Woodland Boulevard as early as 10 a.m. Saturday, for the parade that began at 5:30 p.m. Several businesses reserved seating in front of their storefronts, as well.

As in years past, The Beacon hosted an online poll where spectators could vote for their favorite entries. Voting ran from the start of the parade, at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7, to 11:59 p.m. Dec. 9.

A record 1,812 people cast votes in several categories: best musical or dance-related entry, best nonprofit or community group float or entry, and best commercial float or entry. Not all voters cast a ballot in every category.

Last year, 1,461 parade viewers cast ballots.

All who voted this year had the opportunity to receive a free one-month subscription to The Beacon, and to be entered into a drawing for a free one-year subscription.

Here are the top five results in each of the three categories. Full results are available in the PDF file above.

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