Old Town Clovis became magical the evening of Dec. 3 as the Children’s Electric Light Christmas Parade marched, danced, and twirled its way into holiday festivities, courtesy of the Old Town Clovis Kiwanis Club and Sierra Vista Mall.
“I see them, I see them!,” cried a young girl, jumping up and down.
Twinkling lights, growing larger, pierced the darkness. The Clovis High School Marching Band and Color Guard came into view, along with the sound of drums and marching feet.
The parade has been a popular tradition for 29 years. Previously sponsored by the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, the Old Town Clovis Kiwanis Club has managed the event for the past 11 years, with contributions from Sierra Vista Mall. Other sponsors, most from out of the immediate Old Town area, include Soft Rock 98.9, 102.7 The Wolf, PowerTalk 96.7, CART, EECU, Alert-O-Lite, iHeartRadio, PG&E, VisitClovis.com, Kuppa Joy Coffee House and ABC30 Action News, among others.
Starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, people left chairs at spots where they chose to watch the parade later that evening. In preparation for the parade, street closures started at 5 p.m. and it began at 6:30 p.m.
To eliminate parking problems, Sierra Vista provided free round trip shuttle rides to the public from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The well-received transportation ran between the mall’s community shuttle stop to the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
Over 20,000 spectators came to Old Town to see the stunning light show.
“This was one of the best parades we’ve ever done,” said Brian Heryford of the Old Town Kiwanis Club. His wife, Lora, also with the Kiwanis Club, has been in charge of the parade for the past five years.
The cost of the parade is around $10,000. This year the route was increased by one block and there were about 95 entries, many of them uniquely decorated floats. Along with CUSD school bands and color guards walked Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, wearing reindeer antlers and waving to the crowds, veteran groups, churches, businesses, equestrians, creatively decorated cars, trucks and flatbeds. Decorated with lights, llamas and dogs charmed the crowds.
Restaurants did a lively business keeping the chill at bay with hot chocolate, coffee and food.
“This parade serves to preserve the values of what Clovis is all about,” Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig told CMAC. “We want to be rooted in those values which made Clovis great 100 years ago and will continue to make it great today.”
Those who missed the parade can watch it online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElbSSQpGQY8