GREENBRIER — Patrol Dog Maize, with her handler Corporal David Parks, starred at this year’s Greenbrier Christmas event as she sniffed out the switch to light the huge Christmas tree with her magical powers. Maize and Parks had practiced with peanut butter and the help of Parks’ wife, Audreya, so that Maize knew exactly where to find the right button and the lights came on right as scheduled after the 17th annual Greenbrier Christmas parade and Chili Cook-off.
Maize is now five years old and has been with the Greenbrier Police Department for three years. Parks said, "She is really good at sniffing out anything we challenge her with."
The Greenbrier Lions Club sponsored the Chili Cook-off again this year in the City Event Center and had a record nineteen entries. Radio announcer, "JR" Runyon from Y107.1, along with two more station friends, tasted all nineteen entries to determine the top three winners. JR said, "We had the broadest range of chilis I have ever judged — everything from sweet to so spicy it cleared my nose. All different kinds of meats were used and we even had two white chilis." First place of $50.00 went to Fireman Orbin Barnes; second place of $25.00 to Judy Havens (who was also last year’s first place winner); and third place of $15.00 went to Greenbrier High School business teacher Loretta Burgess.
The expanded parade route this year just about wore out the Greenbrier High School band for walking the 1.8 miles while blowing instruments, marching, and carrying heavy drums, tubas, and other instruments. They did some very special twirls while carrying on with enthusiasm and are always a crowd favorite. As in the past, floats were judged this year. First place went to Boy Scout Troop 435, whose lights dazzled everyone, along with their giant bells. The theme of the parade was "Christmas Bells Are Ringing."
There were motorcycles, antique cars, tractors, floats, and even a pair of horses with riders again this year —over thirty-six entries and perfect weather. Of course, Santa rode in atop the last big red fire engine at the rear of the parade before going into the City Event Center to listen to the children’s wishes. Unlike last year’s downpour, this year was perfect with a cool sixty degrees and a light breeze.
The Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce and the City of Greenbrier jointly sponsor the parade and tree lighting event and it increases in size every year.