Parade showcases floats, lights, holiday spirit

Boy scouts from troop 226 ride atop their float in the ninth annual Christmas Light Parade on Main Street Saturday night. (Staff photo: Marlena Hartz)

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer

Nina Galvon, 15, sat in a folding chair on Main Street, bundled in a blanket with hot cocoa in hand, as she waited alongside thousands of eager spectators for the ninth annual Christmas Light Parade to commence.

“I love Christmas. The Christmas Light Parade is at the start of the whole season,” she said.

During the awards ceremony that followed the parade, Bella Vista Elementary was the big winner of the night. The school won four trophies, including best overall for its float measuring 75 feet long, said the parade’s coordinator John Sharp.

Mesa Elementary also competed with a bright sleigh float filled with Mesa’s honor choir.

Dance and Cheer Force won an award for most original in the business category, Sharp said.

The dance company’s owner, B.J. Bernet, said she didn’t enter to win but was excited to have won, after 70 young girls from the force danced down Main Street to Christmas music.

“I can’t believe it. My face is hurting from smiling. I’m so proud of the kids,” Bernet said.

Ciprina Aragon brought her husband and three heavily bundled daughters to see the lights. She said she wasn’t cold in the 39 degree chill as she awaited a flood of bright floats.

“We brought hot cocoa and ate dinner before we came. It’s not that cold,” Aragon said before the parade began.

Jan Ward brought his son Jordan, 9, to watch the parade after eating at a Main Street restaurant.

“Jordan’s usually in the parade on a go-cart, but this year he’s a spectator,” Ward said.

Jordan Ward said he’d rather be in the parade than watching from the curb.

“I like throwing candy at the kids,” he said.

The Potter House float displayed a large white cross and was equipped with a loudspeaker. A man dressed in plain clothes stood on top of the float and professed to the crowd.

“I was saved. If you are angry, you have bitterness in your heart,” the man said.

Not all floats touted such deep messages.

A red truck from KTQM radio station was driven by a man with a bull horn who kept his message light, drawing laughs rather than silence from the crowd.

“All right everyone, start singing out of key, jingle bells, jingle bells,” he sang.

Jan Ward laughed, “Ah, that’s funny,” he said and then sang a couple lines of “Jingle Bells.”

After the street sweepers ran down Main Street officially ending the parade, trophies were awarded among 58 competing floats, in five categories, Sharp said.

• Farmer’s Electric Cooperative Inc., best use of theme
• Coca Cola Enterprises, most lights
• Dance and Cheer Force, most original

Church and youth groups:
• Llano Estacado MCC and ENMU Alliance, best use of theme
• Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, best use of lights and most original

• Old Fashion Family, best theme and most lights
• Girl Scouts Service Unit number 52, most original

• Bella Vista Elementary, best use of theme, most lights and most original

Best overall:
• Bella Vista Elementary