PARADE OF LIGHTSLocal couple puts lots of time, love into Christmas float

Published 10:30 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

Danny Hearn loves his wife so much he follows her detailed instructions, even when it includes stringing more than 5,000 lights on a Christmas parade float every year.

“My husband has got to love me because I will tell him what to do,” she said.

Danny Hearn also helps create the couple’s popular floats.

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That love for each other spills over into the community each year at the annual Main Street Christmas Parade of Lights, where the Hearns have won best in show five of the past six years. They sat out in 2010.

Last year they entered a Cinderella-themed float that included a castle and a magic pumpkin coach.

“We used over 5,000 lights on the float,” Danny Hearn said.

He said the lights were powered by a 3,000-watt generator in the back of his pickup.

“We don’t start out with the intention of something as big as it usually gets,” Sandy Hearn said.

The couple said they start out doing the work themselves, but it becomes a family affair with their children and grandchildren helping before parade time.

Sandy Hearn said she used to decorate her home to the hilt, but now most of her focus goes into the float.

“It is a whole lot of work and time,” she said.

So much time that they now use their float as a decoration for their home on Kirkland Drive.

“We park it in the front yard and light that sucker up, and people come to our dead end street to see it,” she said.

The theme of this year’s Christmas parade, at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, is A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Danny Hearn said the couple has a pretty good idea of what they will do.

“We don’t like to give our secrets out,” she teased, but said the couple began sketches a month and a half ago.

They said family members, including Sandy Hearn’s 75-year-old mother, ride in the parade, along with special needs children with whom Sandy Hearn became acquainted during her time as a volunteer with Special Olympics.

“We do it to see the expressions on the kids’ faces.” Sandy Hearn said.

Main Street Executive Director Kim Hopkins said, all area clubs, churches, organizations, schools, dance and drill teams and businesses are encouraged to take part.

She estimated 6,000 people lined up along Washington Street last year to see 75 to 80 participants.