The 21st annual Parade of Lights is slated for a drive-through parade at the Las Animas County Fairgrounds this year on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. complete with a goody bag of candy for the kids at the end to kickstart the holiday season.
Following an unsure start to the planning process for the parade, Hometown Holidays, who has been hosting the parade since 1999, decided to push forward to figure out a way to make something happen to brighten up the season.
“We need to have something to give us some joy because we’re so stuck,” said Hometown Holidays committee member Karen Jo Agnello. “Most of us have conceded that it’s [COVID-19] not going to go away anytime soon. So, we’ve got to find a way to adapt to do some of the things that bring us joy. We’ve been doing this for 20 years, so we weren’t just going to sit around and not let it happen without trying to figure something out.”
Hometown Holiday President Gloria Jean Young shared that she was thankful to the Las Animas and Huerfano Counties Health Department and added that the paperwork wasn’t too extensive and they were great to work with.
“They were great to work with actually,” said Young. “You just have to be creative with how to fulfil the COVID regulations they want fulfilled.”
One of those fulfilments is to have volunteers dispersed along the route to ensure the public stays in their cars and participants stay with their floats. With volunteers also helping to give and take ballots, Young said they would love for more community members to help out if able.
This year, the public will be the ones to select float winners. When drivers pull up to the fairgrounds, Hometown Holliday committee members and volunteers will hand out a ballot allowing everyone to vote for their favorites as they drive through and view the floats. At the end of the route, volunteers will collect finished ballots for tallying and give each child a goody bag of candy. Each float will be judged based on their use of light, use of color, creativity, animation, and music.
Also requested was that the public bring a pen or pencil as they are running tight on them. That said, donations of pens or pencils as well as money for the candy that will make up the goody bags is also encouraged.
Thought the parade received the green light, Young said the Christmas Tree Lighting that normally happens each year at Trinidad City Hall did not get the same go ahead. Though the lights will be set to come on as usual, a crowd will not be gathering around the tree this year to reduce potential virus spread.
Regardless of the changes the year has brought, Young expressed her hopes that people will enjoy being able to get out to do something for the holiday season.
“We’ve all been homebound with COVID so this is something we can look forward to,” said Young. “We hope to have a lot of nice floats so it will be a great event to lift the spirit and mood of the community and kick off the season.”
If anyone wishes to be a part of the parade in place, Hometown Holidays is still accepting applications until Nov. 21. The cost for entry is $30 and those funds go toward cash prizes for the parade winners. Applications can be found on their website at HometownHollidaysTrinidad.com/Application.
Hometown Holiday committee members also ask that the public follow the posted route instructions and wait until 6:30 to begin lining up to avoid heavy traffic pile-ups at the event.
Parade of Lights traffic route
To enter the Parade of Lights, turn onto N. Linden from Goddard and proceed to the fairground’s main gate. Upon exiting the fairgrounds, turn left onto N. Linden to North Avenue (the first stop sign – this is a 4-way stop). N. Linden going south will be blocked off. Turn right onto North Avenue and, in the interest of traffic flow, we ask that the public proceed to the first stop sign which is Arizona and turn left.