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Hundreds line Main Street for annual parade
parade pic1
The Yonan's Jewelers and Floral float takes the prize for Best Overall Use of Lights in Friday's annual Christmas Parade. - photo by NANCY ANGEL / The Journal

Turlock Christmas Parade 2012 Winners

Best Overall Use of Lights: Yonan's Jewelers & Yonan's Floral

Best Theme Entry: The Rock Church of Turlock

Best Unique Entry: Merafuentes Tae Kwon Do

Best Youth Entry: Medeiros Elementary School

Best Commercial: Century 21 M&M

Best Antique Entry: Joe Fagundes and his 1922 Dodge horse car, "Mr. Ed"

 Festive floats steamed down Main Street Friday night as holiday music filled the air at the 34th annual Turlock Christmas Parade.

Hundreds of residents and visitors lined the streets of downtown to enjoy the music of marching bands and admire the dozens of holiday themed floats that took part in the parade.

“The Christmas parade is a fun way to get in the holiday spirit,” said Turlock resident Gisela Valencia.  “I’ve been standing in the streets since four this afternoon with my son and braved out the chilly temperatures to come watch the parade in the front row.”

Long before the parade started, Valencia was one of the many attendees huddled in a lawn chair on the nearly impassable sidewalk along Main Street.  She came to watch her brother Omar perform with the Dutcher Middle School Band.

“It’s a great parade,” she said.  “It’s a great time to spend with the family. That’s why I make it a tradition to go every year.”

Local businesses and organizations joined in the fun as well as they entered the parade in a whirlwind of dazzling lights starting at Canal Drive and traveling down historic Main Street.

“We hope we delivered a traditional event that is fun for everyone,” said Turlock Downtown Property Owners' Association director Dana McGarry.  “This year we had lots of vendors, free entertainment and horse carriage rides.”

This year's parade theme was "California Christmas" but the entries were varied and included dressed up alpacas, horses adorned with lights, a giant shopping cart, dancing elves and, of course, the man himself Santa Claus.

For one parade attendee, the highlight of the night was the Pitman High marching band's tribute to YouTube sensation "Gangnam Style."

“The most memorable part of the parade was the 'Gangnam Style' march by Pitman,” said Katie Castro.  “It made me want to jump up and dance. This was the most entertaining parade I have ever gone to.”