Thursday, December 7, 2023

GHS Stowaways receive third year invite to perform in Dallas Holiday Parade

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The Granbury High School Stowaways will be dancing their way through the holiday season, as news regarding a third performance in the Dallas Holiday Parade was officially revealed to the drill and dance team on Oct. 19.

GHS Stowaways Director Shelby Sargent told the HCN that this is the third year in a row that the Stowaways have been invited to perform in the Dallas Holiday Parade.

She added that she also believes this is the third time the team has ever been invited to the parade.

“As far as I know, they have not been to it in the past,” Sargent said.

Presented by HTEDance, the Dallas Holiday Parade is the city’s largest one-day, outdoor event, according to the event’s website. Full of larger-than-life floats and spirited marching bands, the festive parade travels through the streets of downtown Dallas with over 450,000 onlookers, making it one of the largest parades in the country, according to visitdallas.com.

“When I was in high school, my drill team was asked to be a part of it, and it was such a special thing,” Sargent said. “When HTEDance reached out to me three years ago and asked if we would like to be a part of it, I was like, ‘absolutely.’ When I explained this special memory that it holds for me, my first team was like, ‘Oh my gosh, yes, that sounds like so much fun.’ After they experienced the parade and got to see the many families in North Texas that come out to the parade and feed off their energy, they are now so ecstatic every year when they ask us to come back.”

Sargent explained that once a drill team is invited to perform in the parade, HTEDance sends out a choreographer to each school to teach the team specific dance moves for the parade. Each team is also assigned a holiday theme complete with costumes to accompany a float.

The first year, the Stowaways performed as candy cane girls, and last year, they were toy soldiers. Sargent said she doesn’t know yet what the theme will be for this year, but that it can range anywhere from gingerbread men and elves to Christmas tree ornaments.

More than 350 television stations in 159 markets have syndicated the parade, according to the official website. It has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families throughout North Texas and coast to coast.

Sargent explained that since the parade is televised, her team will get the opportunity to learn how to dance through televised areas.

"It's very different than just walking in a parade," she explained. “The parade stops and starts because you have performances in the televised areas, and you have to know when you're coming up to the televised section, so my girls get to learn that experience, too — which I think is neat because not everybody gets to have that type of training to be in a televised event.”

The proceeds from the parade will be donated to the Parkland Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing medical care to patients in need.

“It’s for such a great cause,” Sargent said. “With the Christmas joy, and everyone being so happy, it’s just such a really cool experience.”

She said when her team learned that they were invited back for a third time, they were ecstatic.

“They were like, ‘We were hoping they'd ask us again,’ and our girls’ picture was even on the promotional that they sent out to the teams asking you to be a participant,” she said. “I love that it's such a special memory for me, and that we kind of share that connection now, because I did it in high school, so seeing it from their eyes, I now know what my director felt. I see it from both perspectives, the performer and the teacher, and it's just a really neat experience.”

Sargent said she’s most excited about the new Stowaways team members getting to share in a unique experience together.

"I have 11 new members this year on our team that have never experienced it, so I'm excited for them to get to experience the parade for the first time, to really see what the hype is all about, and see the joy that my upperclassmen have, and get to experience that with them,” she added. “It's just a really cool bonding experience for all of us.”

The Stowaways will perform in the Dallas Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in downtown Dallas.