Annual Parade of Lights set for Saturday evening in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Annual Parade of Lights set for Saturday evening in Craig

If you go …

What: Parade of Lights

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown Craig

The holiday parade route will travel from Craig Middle School along Yampa Avenue, turning west on Victory Way and then north on Ledford Street.

Entries for participants will be accepted through Saturday.

The lineup will start at 4:45 p.m., and judging of entries begins at 5:15 p.m.

The festivities will include numerous holiday activities in the downtown area before and after the parade.

For more information, call 824-7898.

If you go …

What: Parade of Lights

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown Craig

The holiday parade route will travel from Craig Middle School along Yampa Avenue, turning west on Victory Way and then north on Ledford Street.

Entries for participants will be accepted through Saturday.

The lineup will start at 4:45 p.m., and judging of entries begins at 5:15 p.m.

The festivities will include numerous holiday activities in the downtown area before and after the parade.

For more information, call 824-7898.

Twinkling lights, smiling faces and a generous bearded man in a red suit.

These are a few of the things that can be found every year during Craig’s annual event to enter the Christmas season, and this year will be no exception.

The Parade of Lights, sponsored by the Craig Lions Club and the Downtown Business Association, is scheduled for Saturday evening.

Karen Brown, president of the DBA, said this year’s parade should prove to be different because of a theme that will let people tap into their ingenuity.

“The theme is ‘pick-your-own Christmas,’” Brown said. “We made it broad enough so it should be interesting to see what people come up with. It gives them some options.”

Past parade themes have includes “seasons of the heart” and “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

Brown said the numerous possibilities of this year’s theme will make the parade experience like unwrapping a package on Christmas Day.

“They’ve filled out their entry forms, but they’ve been a little vague, so it should be fun,” she said. “It could be presents, it could be a nativity, could be anything. There’s churches, businesses, individuals, bikes, motorcycles, all kinds of different things.”

About eight entrants have filed to participate so far. Brown said applications are still being accepted at the Community Budget Center, 555 Yampa Ave.

“Sometimes people just show up there and fill out an entry form and that’s fine, too,” Brown said.

“We’d like to have them earlier, so we can get a feel for how many people will be there, but if they don’t, then they can fill one out there.”

The start time for the parade is 6 p.m., with setup at 4:45 and contest judging at 5:15.

Though there are few rules for entries, applicants are asked not to throw candy to prevent children from running into the street.

However, people can walk alongside the street and hand out candy to spectators.

Brown said the weather forecast is also promising for the outdoor event.

“So far it looks OK. We’ll see,” she said. “Two or three years ago, it was snowing, but it didn’t seem to stop people from coming out and participating in the crowd or in the parade. It kind of makes the ambiance nice.”

Brown said the sheer number of people who turn out to watch also adds to the feeling.

“It’s always real crowded—wall-to-wall people,” she said. “The parking lot at City Market is always full when they pass by and all along the way. It’s just fun to see who participates and what kind of creativity they come up with.”

Downtown businesses will be open late for holiday shopping, and Love INC will provide hot chocolate in Alice Pleasant Park. Plus, Santa Claus will make an appearance at the Budget Center from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Another feature of the day is a lighting display by Craig resident and business owner Clint Gabbert.

“It’s going to be the same as last year. I might add a couple more trees,” Gabbert said. “It’ll probably be the first night I turn it all on.

“It probably won’t be choreographed to music yet. I think last year was about 30,000 lights over all the businesses here.”

Gabbert, owner of The Jungle Pet Shop, has made a tradition of holiday light shows downtown and at his home.

He said he will be cutting back on the display at his house this year because of his business responsibilities, but he will still focus on bringing seasonal joy to people along Yampa Avenue.

“I’ve always loved Christmas, and I’m always thinking of something different to do for it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but I do it for the people. People asked me about it all summer long.”

Gabbert likened his feeling for Christmastime to one of singer Andy Williams’ biggest noel-themed hits.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” he said.

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