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Turlockers gather for the Festival of Lights
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Crowds gather around the community Christmas tree in Central Park as the lights are turned on during the Festival of Lights event on Friday (NICHOLAS CORTEZ/The Journal).

Hundreds gathered in downtown Turlock on Friday for the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree. 

This year’s tree lighting was preceded by a vendor street fair and multiple performances by local dancers, including Westside Ministries’ Center for Urban Performance and Service and Alegria Dance Studio. 

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Aerial silk dancers from Westside Ministries’ Center for Urban Performance and Service perform at the Festival of Lights on Friday (NICHOLAS CORTEZ/The Journal).

The holiday festivities will continue next Friday with the annual Downtown Turlock Christmas Parade. The city’s 44th annual Christmas parade will start at 6:30 p.m. at Main Street and Canal Drive. The parade will head west on Main Street and eventually turn north onto Broadway. The parade concludes at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. This year’s parade theme is Christmas Luau.

Alegria Dancers at Festival of lights
Alegria Dance Studio performers bring a little country swing dance to the Festival of Lights celebration on Friday (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).