36TH ANNUAL DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE WINNERS
Antique Entry: Casale Family & Friends
Commercial Entry: Fields of Ice
Equestrian: Stanislaus Farm Supply
Themed Entry: Knights of Columbus
Unique Entry: Cunningham Gifted and Talented
Youth Group: Wakefield Elementary
Best Over All Use of Lights: Knights of Columbus
Turlock residents and visitors alike lined the streets of downtown Turlock on Friday for one of the community’s most beloved holiday traditions: the 36th annual Downtown Christmas Parade.
While many families have made the event an annual to-do, some of those in the crowd simply stumbled across the parade which draws thousands of people each year for its train of entries including local school bands, vintage cars, and of course, floats.
“We had no idea this was happening,” laughed Hughson resident Bonnie Alrush who attended the parade with her husband Albert. “We came downtown for an appointment and when we came out we saw everything being set up and decided to stay.”
Newcomers like the Alrushes were tucked in close on Main Street with long time parade goers and even former participants like Manuel Correia who has driven his 1928 Chevrolet Coup in the parade for several years, but was enjoying the event as a spectator this year. While locals set out their chairs as early as 10 a.m. Friday morning for front row seating, those lining the sidewalks were able to peek their heads into shops and restaurants open for the holiday celebration.
“That’s my favorite part,” said Ana Seqiera who comes each year with her family, noting that the downtown businesses’ involvement helps to make the parade a real community event.
Five judges evaluated the floats that made their way down Main Street, including: Turlock City Council member Steven Nascimento, City Attorney Phaedra Norton, John Jaureguy of the Downtown Property Owners Association, Turlock Chamber of Commerce representative Kyle Kirkes, and the Arts, Parks, and Recreation Chair Mike Dowd. With the theme of “A Box Office Christmas,” local clubs, organizations, and businesses each took a different approach with floats inspired by "The Polar Express," "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," "A Christmas Story," and more.
So what keeps people coming back for the annual event, even on years when it rains like it did on Friday? Just like picking out a Christmas tree or baking sugar cookies: it’s a tradition.