The sidewalks on Main Street and Broadway were packed full on Friday night with thousands of community members, friends, and families, all eager to view the 34th Annual Turlock Downtown Christmas Parade.
Some residents even reserved their seats for the event, bringing lawn chairs and couches throughout the day to ensure that they had a perfect view of the parade. Although the parade started at 6:30pm, Main Street was closed from noon to 10pm that evening.
After a previous week of heavy rain throughout the Central Valley, many residents were concerned whether or not the parade would still be put on, but the City of Turlock ensured that the annual event would commence, rain or shine.
The parade accepted 75 entries this year, all of which did not disappoint. Marching bands, dancers, carolers, vintage vehicles, and a myriad of highly decorative floats are just some of the parade entries that participated in the annual event.
The amount of entries, and the fact that the parade crosses train tracks, has always affected the continuous flow and length in time of the parade.
It was nice, but they need to work on keeping it going together,” Lisa Haynes posted on facebook. “There were at times a long wait for the next float or band and the kids lost interest about half way through.”
Despite the approximate 50 degree chilly weather; business owners, non-profit organizations, youth ministries, high school clubs, and many other groups participated in the parade, joining together to bring the holiday season to life. “California Christmas” was this year’s suggested theme, however entrants are not required to adhere to the theme.
The winners for this year’s parade include:
Yonan’s Jewelers and Yonan’s Floral for ‘Best Overall Use of Lights’
The Rock Church of Turlock for ‘Best Theme Entry’
Merafuentas Tae Kwon Do for ‘Best Unique Entry’
Medeiros Elementary School for ‘Best Youth Entry’
Century 21 M&M for ‘Best Commercial Entry’
Joe Fagundes 1922 Dodge “Mr. Ed” Horse Car for ‘Best Antique Entry’.
Many Turlock families and friends attend the event every year, making it one of Turlock’s most anticipated traditions.
“I have attended the parade since I moved here in 2007,” shared California State University, Stanislaus student Mehran Khodabandeh. “I always attend with my close friends and even though we’re all adults, they take their children and we have a great time.”
Vendors were also present during the parade; offering kettle corn, hot chocolate, and other delicious treats to those who attended.
“The parade means a lot to me during the holidays, it makes me feel that even though I’m not related to the people I go with through blood, they still take me in to their families and share those moments with me and I’m super appreciative,” said Khodabandeh.