Santa’s on his way to local parades

By Brooke Finch and Eamon Scarbrough
STAFF WRITERS

Santa Claus is coming to town early this year, and thousands are hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

More than 8,000 area residents are expected to gather for this year’s Christmas Lights Parade, an iconic celebration for downtown Clovis organized by Clovis MainStreet.

The non-profit organization will host the annual parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 along Main Street, where many businesses are known to turn off their storefront lights to make the parade lights easier to see.

According to Clovis MainStreet Executive Director Lisa Pellegrino-Spear, the parade has been extended one block from last year. This year, between 60 and 80 floats are expected to travel from 14th Street to Second Street.

Another difference this year is the theme, “Main Street Misfit Toys,” alluding to the Island of Misfit Toys featured in the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Christmas TV special.

Spectators can expect “lots of lights and lots of fun floats,” Pellegrino-Spear said, as well as an appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Pellegrino-Spear said the theme, and the parade in its entirety, wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of the Clovis community.

“We posted on our Facebook page and let people send in their theme ideas,” Pellegrino-Spear said. “We narrowed it down and allowed people to vote on it. The parade itself is a great opportunity for local businesses to be seen by area residents.”

Floats are awarded for categories, including marching/walking, large floats, small floats, automobiles, people’s choice and one best overall float.

One organization hoping to take home another first place award for the large float category is AM Vets Post 14.

Post Commander Tommy Knight said his crew is already hard at work with a 50-foot trailer, drawing up ideas for designs and character costumes.

Although Knight can’t attend this year, he said the parade has always been a tradition he enjoys.

“It would be nice to see it,” Knight said jokingly, “but you can’t really see it when you’re on the float in the parade. I think it’s growing every year, and that’s a good thing. There’s more and more people coming and more people getting involved.”

There is no entry fee for local businesses and organizations wanting to feature a float in the parade, but parade organizers ask that participants consider donating to Clovis MainStreet or giving nonperishable food items to the Lighthouse Mission.
The deadline for entry forms is Dec. 1.

Santa Claus will be making another appearance at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 for Portales’ 30th Annual Christmas Light Parade and Jubilee.

According to Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karl Terry, attendees can expect a night of music and festivities, with up to 40 floats participating in the parade.

The parade will line up at the Portales Recreation Center at 6 p.m. and begin at 6:30 p.m., where it will make its way to the downtown square.

“It’s become something that Portales really supports. It just blows me away. I’ve been where the set-up is going on and traveled the parade route to get back downtown, and it just amazes me how many people are lined up for the parade,” he said.

The parade, Terry said, will be led by a float carrying the new Little Miss Merry Christmas, who will be crowned the day before, accompanied by the other contestants and young women who have participated in the Miss New Mexico Pageant.

Pre-parade entertainment will be available to attendees at 6 p.m. on the square, Terry said, noting that solo and duet artists will likely perform Christmas music there.

According to Terry, the parade will likely arrive at the square at 7:30 p.m., at which time Santa Claus will be available to talk to children.

“He’ll hang out as long as there’s kids down there,” he said.

Floats for the parade can be registered at the time of the parade, Terry said, though pre-registration is encouraged and can be completed by calling the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce at 575-356-8541 or by registering online at Portales.com.