If the turnout at Gardnerville’s Christmas Kickoff is any indication, all of the Carson Valley’s Christmas events, including tonight’s Parade of Lights will be packed.
Kiwanian and Project Santa Claus leader Gary Dove is the grand marshal for the parade. Santa will bring up the end of the parade thanks to Borges Sleigh & Carriage Rides.
Highway 395 closes around 4 p.m. tonight, in preparation for the annual Parade of Lights an hour later.
The 60 entries in this year’s parade stage at Heritage Park starting around 3 p.m., which means residents along Gilman Avenue should expect some traffic in that vicinity before the parade.
Gilman will be closed at Chichester and at Heritage Park at 4 p.m., which means both parade entries and goers need to be in place by then.
The judges stand will be located in front of the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center in Gardnerville where parade entries are being encouraged to ramp it up.
Parade entries passing out candy will have walkers to hand it to parade-goers.
The highway will reopen sometime between 7-8 p.m., depending in part on the parade’s progress.
Officially, there were only supposed to be 500 people at Heritage Park for Gardnerville’s Christmas Kickoff.
Easily more than twice that number of celebrants turned out for the fireworks in the park.
“I told the county there wouldn’t be more than 500, so we wouldn’t have to do a festival permit, so say there were no more 498,” Town Manager Eric Nilssen said with a grin. “It’s warmer than it was last time, so a lot more people came out.”
The cobbler was baked in a trough of coals that heated up that end of the serving table.
“We managed to have enough cobbler for everyone who wanted some and plenty of drinks,” Town Administrative Services Manager Carol Louthan said. “We did not run out like in past years. It was a great crowd of people and looked like everyone had a good time.”
There were lines for Santa, for cobbler, for popcorn and plenty more people sitting on the lawn watching dancers and musicians perform.
All About Dance Kids performed with the Grinch, while the Sierra High School Choir sang Christmas carols and the Dance Workshop kids performed three shows while the crowd kept on coming.
It was the fifth fireworks show put on by the Town of Gardnerville to greet the season put on by Pyro Guys.
Town of Gardnerville, Sharkey’s and Linda and Randy Slater sponsored the fireworks.
Unlike the 2019 show, there was no fog, wind and the temperatures were so mild it was almost too warm by the many fire pits.
On Friday night, celebrations moved to Minden and Genoa for more lightings.
This year marks 30 years since Minden began hosting a party around turning on the lights at the town gazebo.
This year the celebration featured the Douglas High School Jazz Band, firepits and S’mores.
In 2019, children could bring a canned food item in exchange for a goodie bag and a golden ticket to join in a drawing to see who helped Santa thrown the big light switch.
Over in Genoa, townspeople gathered in the town church to sing carols before walking down to Main and Nixon streets to light up the town Christmas Tree.
Today, the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center will host the Gallery of Trees and the gingerbread house building contest. Entry to the museum is free 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Family Day for anyone who wants to check out the decorated forest of Christmas trees.