Family shares parade experience

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Santa Claus waves to the crowd on Main Street Saturday during the 11th Annual Christmas Light Parade.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Raidon Gonzales’ face lit up with excitement and reflected light as a Clovis Fire Department truck drifted slowly down Main Street.

The six-year-old sat on his father’s shoulders as more lit-up vehicles and some horses paraded down the street Saturday evening for the 11th annual Christmas Light Parade.

The parade contained more than 100 entries that glided down Main street while a fog descended upon them.
“Cool,” said an awe-struck Raidon, as he pointed at the fire truck.

The Clovis High Air Force Junior ROTC strode down the street and caught Raidon’s eye.

“They have decorated guns,” he said pointing a gloved-finger to the guard carrying rifles wrapped in Christmas lights.

Anthony Gonzales, Raidon’s father, said he used to participate in parades in Clovis as a member of the Clovis High School band in the 1980s.

Gonzales, who now lives in Plainview, said this is his first time watching a parade since high school.

This year, he brought his son, girlfriend and her 7-year-old daughter, Madison, to the parade.

“I think they’re just excited to be here,” Gonzales said of Raidon and Madison who watched the parade for the first time.

At the end of the parade, float builders and participants headed to the Masters Center for the award ceremony.

The Farmers’ Electric Cooperative float took first prize followed by the Matt 25 Hope Center, Sons of the American Legion, the Family, Community and Career Leaders of America and the Arts Academy of Bella Vista entries.

Like many families who came to downtown Clovis, the Kirk family took extra precautions for the parade as temperatures plummeted to 36 degrees. Kari Kirk and her family brought hot chocolate, blankets and “a good attitude.”

“Cause you know it’s going to be cold in Clovis the night of the parade,” she said.