Floats, holiday music and festive greetings filled downtown Aiken Sunday during the 2012 Aiken Jaycees Christmas Parade.

Seen as an Aiken tradition, the parade featured local school bands, churches, nonprofit organizations, elected officials, athletic teams and local businesses. Many rode on colorful floats or in decorated cars in honor of the holiday season.

“I come just about every year to see kinfolk that's in it,” said Frances Kennedy.

Kennedy, among many others, commented on the day's weather. The skies were mostly overcast, but the highs hovered in the mid-70s.

“It's not too hot, not too cold,” she said.

The parade's theme was Cartoon Christmas, and several well-known cartoon characters were spotted along the parade route, including Dr. Seuss's The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville, Raggedy Ann, Snow White, the Flintstones, the Pink Panther, Buzz Lightyear and Mickey Mouse.

“We're going to say, 'Merry Christmas,'” Shanterria Hicks, 4, said before the parade started.

Santa and Mrs. Claus made a special appearance toward the end of the parade, riding in the bucket of Aiken Public Safety Ladder 1.

The best part of the parade, according to Blake Spa, is tailgating. He and his family find a spot near City Hall on Park Avenue every year to watch the parade from the bed of a pick-up truck.

“This is our gathering place,” said Terri McIlvoy.

The family makes it a day-long event.

“We bring lunch or go have lunch together,” said Dana Spa.