It may be the first day of October, but the City of Turlock is already gearing up for the 36th annual Turlock Downtown Christmas Parade.
In past years, the annual parade has generated crowds greater than 30,000 people to witness the lights and creativity of local companies, organizations, and nonprofits showcasing their floats in the event and according to event coordinator Karen Packwood, this year will likely be no exception.
“I’ve already received calls regarding the parade applications before they were available,” said Packwood.
This year’s parade theme is “A Box Office Christmas” and while the participants can interpret the theme to their liking, there is always one thing every entry must have: lights. Several years ago the parade was a morning affair, but after switching to the evening the City mandated that participants illuminate their entries with a minimum of 3,000 lights. This tradition has since resulted in not only an enjoyable and festive experience for those watching the procession downtown, but also allows the judges to award one float’s creators the coveted award for Best Overall Use of Lights.
“The greater the amount of lights, the better you can see the floats which is really enjoyable for the spectators,” said Packwood, also noting the importance of participants indicating their organization on their float.
On the day of the event Turlock’s Main Street is crowded as locals tuck in close to one another to witness not only the floats but the school bands and choirs, vintage cars, horses, tractors, and more.
Starting today locals interested in creating a float for the Christmas parade can file an application to reserve their spot in the festivities. The applications are available for the month of October and are available on a first come, first served basis. According to Packwood, for the last several years the City has reached its limit of 75 floats and this year the City is offering a one week late registration period. Applications received after this period will be placed on a waiting list.
Locals can print the application on the City of Turlock’s website and turn it in to the Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Department located at 144 S. Broadway.
The 36th Annual Turlock Downtown Christmas Parade will take place on Dec. 5.