At the annual Light Up Williston event last Friday evening, Mayor Gerald Hethcoat reminded residents how cold it had been during the ceremonies the previous year.
No such problem this time.
On a beautiful Florida night, the annual parade and the lighting of the decorations in Linear Park drew large crowds to the downtown area on Dec. 7.
Hethcoat gave a welcoming speech, asking the crowd who knew what special day it was. Bradley Perkins, 9, had the right answer: "Pearl Harbor remembrance day."
"We don't want to let our veterans down," the mayor said as he asked for a moment of silence.
Then the program continued as visitors munched on the chili that had been judged in the annual cook-off (see story on Page 3).
Float winners were announced. The Williston Garden Club won for best use of theme, and Perkins State Bank was the best overall winner, closely followed by Turbeville Tree Service and M&M Carpet Care.
Judge Joseph Smith read from the Bible about the birth of Jesus and then the crowd listened to some entertainment by some of the local children.
Hethcoat threw the switch, helped by the three winners in the Miss Williston event earlier this year.
The Community Redevelopment Agency held its annual chili cook-off in conjunction with the Christmas parade and Light Up Williston festivities last Friday evening.
Ten chefs prepared chili - spicy or mild - and a number of local officials accepted the challenge of judging the results. City council members Cal Byrd, Steve Holcomb, Debra Jones and Jerry Robinson were joined by Mayor Gerald Hethcoat and 8th Judicial Circuit Judge Stan Griffis, a Williston resident, in the daunting task.
The winners were presented with specially-made aprons celebrating their accomplishments. In the "mild" category, Tracie Osteen, a city employee, took first place; second place was awarded to Kelly Annitico, of JH Towing; and third went to Marsha Meier, of Plumbing by Charlie. The "spicy" category was won by Ryan's Deli in first place, followed by Stewart Herring, and, in third place, the CRA member Earl Ogle.
Once the judging was complete, the public was invited to sample each of the entries. The "cost" of sampling was a can of non-perishable food or a dollar donation. The event garnered more than 200 cans of food and more than $100. The food and the funds have been donated to local food banks to assist families in the community during the holidays.