This year’s Lamar Chamber of Commerce Parade of Lights theme focused on Starry Nights and Yuletide Lights for the December 2nd event. And there were plenty of floats, an estimated 20, that took the theme to heart. We had just a hint of a few, isolated flurries around the downtown area as residents lined the streets from the Enchanted Forest south, to the staging area near the Lamar Municipal pool.
The hoped-for dusting of snow never materialized; but that lack didn’t affect the audience who soon got a glimpse of the first float which was from the Life Center Church and the first place entry as well. The full-sized semi featured several ‘heavenly host’, angels, adorned with their signature wings which were illuminated by a pale blue light as the float led the procession.
A second large and ornate float followed; the entry from Four Rivers Equipment was also packed with multi-colored lights and sported a small rotating front-end loader at the rear of the semi. That entry locked down second prize from the judges. Third place was awarded to CDOT, the local Colorado Department of Transportation group for Lamar, which was right on point at the second-to-last position in the parade line-up and right before Santa’s North Pole Express train. CDOT walkers in the distinctive safety vests were steps ahead of a large snowplow covered in lights, plus an illuminated road sign that read, “Clearing the Way for Santa’s Sleigh”.
Other high points of the parade included holiday dancers from Lea Austin’s, All the Right Moves, performing at the intersection of Main and Olive, just ahead of Santa’s train. As the jolly old gent moved closer to the East Beech Street turn-off, the crowds lining the streets began to exclaim, “Here He Comes, Here Comes Santa’ in unison, generating a new level of excitement and Christmas cheer that was as welcome to hear as it was unique to this year’s parade.
While retailers along downtown Main Street kept their doors open for visitors and holiday specials, the Shore Arts Center was open for a free performance of holiday themed music from the AVWPE and Bell Ringers Group. Mayor Roger Stagner threw the switch that officially illuminated the Enchanted Forest as the parade route, on a newly paved roadway, courtesy of the City of Lamar, brought Santa’s train through Silvey’s Mountain and up to the door of his workshop where he listened to all the area girls and boys and their holiday wishes for 2016.
Several of the youngsters got to meet the Old Elf for the very first time with reactions that ran from happiness, to mystification, to ‘where’s my mommy’!
By Russ Baldwin
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