B/CS Christmas Parade Brings Holiday Delight and Some Controversy

*Story Update*

Thousands of people attended Sunday's B/CS Christmas Parade.

While there were nearly 100 entries and thousands of participants, one group is getting a lot of the attention.

Freedom of and from religion has become a talking point throughout town after an atheist group openly expressed their beliefs during Sunday's B/CS Christmas Parade.

18 people made up the Atheist Vuvuzela Marching Band which paraded down Texas Avenue while playing "Jingle Bells" on vuvuzela horns.

News 3 spoke with the leader of the group who said they weren't protesting Christmas or the parade but were there to announce their presence in the community.

The decision to parade though didn't sit well with many of those in attendance.

"Wasn't exactly happy about the Christmas Parade this year, I spent many years teaching my children to love and respect other people and to love the fact that they were children of God and I don't feel that they should be influenced in any other way especially not at a Christmas parade," said Tina Corgey, who is a lifelong Bryan resident.

Corgey brings her three kids to the B/CS Christmas Parade every year.

She said she was disgusted by what she saw on Sunday.

"If you have younger children they weren't going to understand but I have older children, a teenager, 8-year-old and they were curious and they asked questions and it was hard for them to believe and understand that there are actually people out there that don't believe in God," Corgey said.

"We just wanted to say hey, were here, its' ok, you know. We didn't intend to be specifically offensive to anyone you know we just wanted to say we're here too," said Keri Bean of the Brazos Valley Atheist Vuvuzela Marching Band.

Bean organized the Brazos Valley Vuvuzela Marching Band and said they chose to perform "Jingle Bells" to stay with the Christmas spirit of the parade.

"When we were walking around we would say, 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Hanukkah', 'Merry Kwanzaa', there's a whole bunch of different holidays that happen now, so we wanted to make sure that everyone was represented," Bean said.

"They followed through and they did what they said and they paid the entry fee and so from that standpoint they did as any other participants did in the event," said Penny Zent, Station Manager at KAMU-FM.

The station helped sponsor the parade.

"You've heard the phrase, "What would Jesus do?" and so that was something that was mentioned today and the thought was that Jesus probably would have wrapped his arms around 'em and welcomed 'em to the event and so I hope that our community will be big enough to rise above this and do exactly the same thing," Zent said.

Tina Corgey believes the paraders performed in bad taste.

"It just ,I think it could have been done somewhere else," Corgey said.

Corgey said she still plans on attending the parade in the years to come and News 3 also learned Monday evening the Atheist Vuvuzela Marching Band is considering participating in the Christmas Parade next year.

*Sunday's story*

Holiday spirit filled the air Sunday afternoon in Bryan/College Station as thousands of people lined up for the annual Christmas parade.

Nearly 100 different groups took part in the parade which included the Texas Aggie Band, area high school bands, the Grinch and everyone in between.

Even Santa stopped by to say hello and gather Christmas wish lists along the route.

This year's theme was Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.


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