Craig The streets of downtown Craig were lined with glowing snowflakes hanging from street lamps, as a giant lighted star overlooked the town from atop the Sand Rocks.
There was no snow, but it didn't matter to the more than 100 participants who labored for hours creating holiday floats to be displayed Saturday evening.
The annual Parade of Lights kicked off the Christmas season Saturday night, in a display of holiday cheer with a dash of local flair.
The Craig Lion's Club has been organizing the event for more than 20 years, in an effort to bring residents who dream of candy canes, stocking stuffers and Santa Claus, to the forefront for an evening on the town.
"We've been holding parades since the inception of the Lion's Club 85 years ago," Lion's Club member Al Shepherd said. "We started the Parade of Lights in the late '70s.We always have a great turn out."
Sixteen floats - one more than the registered 15 - displayed the sights and sounds of the holiday season to festive onlookers who lined Yampa Avenue, Victory Way and Ledford Street.
"It's a big event that we took on," Shepherd said. "We are the insurance and the Downtown Business Association are the judges."
DBA representative Jackie Roberts was on hand before the start of the event at Craig Middle School, clipboard in hand in an effort to seek out the most prolific float, which would take home the 2007 Parade of Lights traveling trophy.
"We judge the floats on theme, lights and creativity," Roberts said. "We've been judging this contest for five or six years now. The Lions Club organizes this whole thing. We just help out."
First prize was awarded to Craig Physical Therapy's float, named "Candy Land Express," which was created by Paula Sadvar.
It was a brilliant display, complete with lights, artificial snow, elves, presents and Santa Claus himself.
"I'm so excited to win," Sadvar said. "This is the second year my family has competed and we spent almost a month preparing the float. It was my idea, but my grandkids and I worked together on it."
The three-foot traveling trophy wasn't the only prize awarded to the Sadvar family. They also were handed an envelope with $275 inside.
"We put so much work into this float; it was tiring. I had said that I wasn't going to do it again next year," Sadvar said. "Now that is going to change. I'm just so excited we won. All I wanted was that trophy."
Many of the other participants took time to stop by the "Candy Land Express" to offer their congratulations and compliment Sadvar's efforts.
The Sadvars "went above and beyond what is expected at this event," Roberts said. "They had all three necessary components to win."
Severson Supply's float, "White Christmas," took home an envelope filled with $175 and second place, while The Memorial Hospital placed third with "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which was good for $100 in prize money.
Todd Jourgensen accepted the award for "White Christmas."
"Stacey Severson and Terri Jourgensen spent three days on this float," Jourgensen said. "It feels really good to win something. It's our first time."
The float was a spectacle of lights. A Christmas tree was the centerpiece, with snow and children dressed in holiday attire as the theme.
"They were the brightest float by far," Roberts said. "That's what we are looking for."
Kathy Fagan, Vicki Gallegos, Denise Jones and Arin Koonce were the beneficiaries of the third place prize.
The "Charlie Brown Christmas" float was the only unmanned float at the event, but that didn't matter to judges. They won because of the effort put into the creation.
There were multiple Charles Schulz characters constructed from wood and cardboard, giving the appearance of people present onboard.
Fagan was carrying the envelope of cash, thinking it was only $25 before she had looked inside.
"A hundred dollars is awesome," she said. "It took us four days to put it together. It was so worth it."
The event was a huge success, Roberts said.
"We wish there was snow to help kick it off," she said. "But we still had a blast. The holiday season is now officially here."
John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or email@example.com