About a dozen floats, decorated with the "Home for the Holidays" theme, drove through Downtown Craig Saturday during the annual Parade of Lights sponsored by the Downtown Business Association and the Craig Lions Club.
The different meanings of that theme could be seen by the displays that it inspired, but the overall sentiment was one of thankful and appreciative families whose loved ones are home for the season.
Entitled "Now and Then," Yampa Valley Baptist Church won $150 for the best non-commercial float with the entry that featured dual scenes of home.
In the rear, Mary and Joseph sat in a manger watching over Baby Jesus, in a re-creation of the humble manger that the family called home during the very first Christmas. In the front, a family sat together in a modern day living room, as a soldier who just returned from war read from the Bible.
The many soldiers that will not be home for Christmas this year influenced the making of many of the floats.
Santa and Mrs. Claus rode aboard the Downtown Business Association float with Army National Guard Specialist Cynthia Vallem, symbolically welcoming all servicemen and women home to their families. Vallem, who recently returned from an eight-month tour in Iraq, was accompanied by her son and cousin.
On another float, a dozen young soldiers clicked their heels together as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz led them in chanting, "There's no place like home."
Dorothy made another appearance on the Northwest Colorado Wildkats cheerleaders' float. All the Wizard of Oz characters, represented by kindergarten- through ninth-grade cheerleaders, lined up behind a tall emerald tower, wishing that everyone could be home for the holidays.
Others, already at home, thought of how they will spend their holiday with family.
Scott McKinney, owner of The Copy Shop, loaded three generations of McKinneys onto his float for his fifth year participating in the parade. The family stayed warm and comfortable bundled up on lawn chairs.
In their first year of participation, Cook Chevrolet entered a float with five children, a giant inflatable Santa with waving arms, a stereo, a television, a stove with fire, and a big black dog.
Moffat County Search and Rescue entered a float featuring two snowmobiles that are used to find outdoor recreation enthusiasts in the backcountry.
Reflections Hair Care and Nikita Nails won best overall float, taking home a $200 prize and a four-foot tall traveling trophy.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at email@example.com.