Turlock Downtown Christmas Parade Winners
Unique Entry: Off Road Renegades
Themed Entry: Rock Church of Turlock & Denair Missionary Baptist Church (Tie)
Antique Vehicle: Casale Family & Friends
Youth Group: Wakefield Elementary School
Commercial Entry: Garton Tractor Inc. & Precision Security Solutions (Tie)
Equestrian: Merced County Sheriff Posse
Best Overall Use of Lights: Wakefield Elementary School
Downtown Turlock was bursting with holiday spirit once again as the Turlock Downtown Christmas Parade made its way down Main Street on Friday night, with floats featuring plenty of lights, candy and superheroes taking center stage.
The 38th annual parade featured the theme “Superhero Style,” and heroes like Wonder Woman, Captain America and Superman waved to the crowd from their respective floats created by local businesses, groups and organizations. The city’s everyday heroes were honored as well; local Vietnam Veterans served as Grand Marshalls for the parade, and several floats featured Turlock’s fire fighters and police officers.
According to Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities Allison Van Guilder, an estimated 20,000 people attended this year’s parade – both out of town visitors and local residents alike.
“The number of people that come to the parade has exponentially grown over the years,” said Councilmember Matthew Jacob, who judged the float competition for the second consecutive year. “We get a lot of regional visitors, which is nice for all of the businesses downtown. It reminds people what a nice downtown we have and all of the restaurants and shops they can shop at.”
For Turlock resident Melissa Feemster, family ties have kept her coming back to the parade year after year. She and her husband have attended the Christmas parade annually for eight years in order to watch their children in the Pitman High School marching band.
“The last one is graduating this year, but we’ll be coming back,” said Feemster. “It’s a family event for us. If you look at everybody here, they’re all family, whether they have a family member participating in the parade or know someone who owns a business on Main Street.”
While some families like the Feemsters have already established their holiday traditions, Stanislaus State students like Damion Rosby and Elise Ackerman are looking to begin their own.
“I’ve never seen Turlock like this before,” said Rosby, who was attending the parade for the first time. “It’s a huge deal in this community so it’s a pretty cool experience.”
Ackerman emphasized the importance of staying connected with the community while going to school.
“If you’re going to stay after college, you can start building that bond now with the community instead of waiting until after graduation,” she said.
“There’s more than just the school community,” added Rosby. “This is where we live right now, so why not come downtown and be a part of the community and not just go to school.”