2013 CHRISTMAS PARADE WINNERS
Antique Vehicle: Casale Family & Friends
Commercial Entry: Yonan's Jewelers
Equestrian: RD Ranch
Themed Entry: The Rock Church
Unique Entry: Off Road Renegades
Youth Group: Medeiros Elementary School
Best Over All Use of Lights: Yonan's Jewelers
Downtown Turlock was filled with the lights of the season on Friday — and thousands of holiday revelers — for the annual Christmas parade.
Turlock’s annual 35th Downtown Christmas Parade is an activity that many families have made an annual tradition with last year’s parade generating over 31,000 in attendance. This year’s theme, “Rock’n Through the Holidays,” brought 79 floats covered in lights through downtown Turlock representing various neighborhoods, businesses, clubs and organizations.
“We have several floats that are a staple in the parade each year, but this year there’s a lot of new floats as well,” said Karen Packwood, Turlock Recreation Supervisor.
Accompanying the multitude of floats were seven school bands and choirs as well as vintage cars, horses and tractors. Five judges posted up at the corner of Main and Center streets while volunteer announcers Ray and Leonard Mendonca were positioned up the street at First Street. Individuals enjoyed food from the 10 vendors that occupied side streets while roaming vendors walked the sidewalks selling glow sticks and lights.
As the glowing processional made its way down Main Street, judges kept their eyes out for the most inspiring floats broken down into six categories: Antique Vehicle, Equestrian, Themed Entry, Unique Entry, Youth Group and Commercial. Kids ran along the sides of floats thrusting candy canes into the hands of onlookers and cheering loudly as the judges announced each passing float.
“Playing for everyone is really cool. We do it each year, we play Christmas songs while we march and it’s just a fun thing to do each Christmas season,” said Sinoil Betashoor, a junior in the Pitman High School Marching Band who has played at the parade for three years now.
Planning for the annual downtown parade commences in September and is made possible by several sponsors and donors including this year’s lead sponsor Local Turlock Firefighters 2434, which has sponsored the previous six years as well.
“It’s a wonderful parade that draws people from the surrounding areas and one of the better Christmas parades in the Valley,” said Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson.
The parade is always on the first Friday of December and those interested in participating in the 36th annual parade can access applications online next October. Interested parties are encouraged to plan ahead as slots quickly fill up and additional entries are placed on a waiting list.