WARNER ROBINS, Georgia. (41NBC/WMGT) -- It's usually a cold family tradition for residents of Middle Georgia.
But Saturday, the warm temperature spread holiday cheer all the same.
"Just togetherness and everybody pulling together, just celebrating life," said Kym Heron, a parade-goer.
"It's been around for awhile, it's like a tradition around here," said Rick Forbes, a parade-goer. "Everybody comes out to see the parade once a year. These two have been in it more than they have stood on the side and watched it so this year they get to watch it on the side."
The annual Warner Robins Christmas Parade marched down Watson Boulevard Saturday morning, flanked by thousands of people.
And this year, a hometown star led the way for everyone.
"We try to come to the parade every year there's always someone--if not our kids our kids are older now--but I have a niece or a nephew that's always in the band and we came out this year so we could get a glimpse of Al Roker and his wife Deborah Roberts and knowing that she's from this area too makes it special," said Sharon Brown, a parade-goer.
Deborah Roberts, an ABC News Correspondent, grew up in neighboring Perry, and enjoyed the opportunity to connect with her home community.
"It's fantastic," said Roberts. "I mean I'm from Perry, I'm from the Warner Robins, Houston County area and to be able to be here in this capacity--I have to tell you it's kind of my Christmas wish come true. I remember being a kid and watching the parade on television and thinking, oh, maybe one day, maybe just one day--and here I am now as the grand marshall."
A Christmas dream come true for Roberts, who celebrated a family tradition today with her much larger, and very southern Georgia family.
The Today Show's Al Roker, Roberts' husband, was scheduled to be there, but couldn't make it.
While Roberts wished her family could have been there, she said the warmth from her hometown family was good enough for the day.