HAHIRA – There were horses.
And monster trucks.
And an alligator-mascot.
And a clown.
And bug eating.
The Hahira Honeybee Festival had it all.
Packing Main Street and surrounding areas, the festival returned for its 38th year Saturday with an hour-long parade.
Despite high temperatures Saturday afternoon, the sidewalks were flooded with thousands of spectators all awaiting a city tradition.
The Hahira Police Department led quite the diverse convoy, which included local participants and out-of-towners.
Several Shriners traveled from Florida and parts of Georgia.
The “Queen Bees,” or pageant winners, helped introduce the parade.
Multiple area fire departments brought out trucks. Two firefighters walked in full uniform alongside the trucks to interact with the crowd.
Young cheerleaders chanted as they rode down the street.
Some parade members utilized teacher appreciation as their entry theme.
Kids rapidly picked up candy thrown to them.
In the spirit of the festival’s name, plenty of participants donned bee fashions including dogs.
On the sidelines, Sherikka Kelly enjoyed a view of the parade with her cousin, Kirshera Kelly, and their daughters.
Sherikka Kelly has attended the parade for six years while Kirshera Kelly has attended for at least two years.
“It’s great that they do this,” Sherikka Kelly said. “Everybody comes out in support of each other. It’s just great.”
Her fiance was one of the many Shriners.
“We’re coming out here showing support for them, as well, and just to see everybody; all the kids having fun enjoying the parade,” she said.
Her daughters differed in their favorite parts of the parade. Theia Brown, 2, loved all of the cars while Kameil Brown, 7, joyfully said she prefers the candy.
Kirshera Kelly’s 7-year-old daughter, Demiya Lane, doesn’t have a favorite.
“I love everything,” she said.
Kirshera Kelly said she and her family will keep supporting the Honeybee Festival.
“Continue on doing it and we’ll be down here every year,” she said.
Once the parade wrapped up, crowds migrated to the multitude of vendors lining Main Street and on the Hahira Depot field.
Gourmet barbecue sauces, burgers, shaved ice, funnel cakes, clothing, jewelry and crafts were some of the offerings from vendors.
Some kids rode ponies and got their faces painted while others jumped in bounce houses and climbed a rock wall.
Some residents sat and watched a live band play on the depot stage as they ate a meal.
Most of the guests seemed to be in good spirits, all with smiles on their faces as the conclusion of the week-long Hahira Honeybee Festival neared.