It’s beginning to look a lot like… Christmas
Despite temperatures hovering below freezing, shouts of “Merry Christmas” and “happy holidays” seemed to increase the warmth over the first weekend of December, which marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Carson Valley.
The festivities began with the lighting of the Minden Park gazebo and tree on Friday night and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Escorted to the park by personnel from the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts, Santa took his position on the gazebo and with a broad sweeping wave of his arm and the traditional countdown from the crowd, bundled up in their warmest winter “woollies,” Santa transformed the park into a twinkling display of lights.
Visitors and residents were treated to an atmosphere of old-fashioned Christmas all along Esmeralda Avenue as they intermingled for the occasion. A classic 1948 International fire truck complete with calliope became a center of attention as people gathered to take pictures of the restored relic, owned by Roy Clason of Lake Tahoe, and listen to the calliope play traditional Christmas songs. Dianna Borges and her Belgian draft horse, Chance, gave sleigh rides around the streets of Minden while entertaining her passengers with sing-a-long caroling.
The historic C.O.D. Garage, both doors wide open, welcomed everyone to enjoy the warmth of kerosene heaters, a chance for the kiddies to tell Santa their hearts desire at Santa’s House, crafts galore and a taste of German holiday fare with foods and drinks reminiscent of an old German street festival.
Saturday the 11th annual Parade of Lights, with the theme of “Holiday Magic,” sponsored by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority, gathered at Lampe Park in Gardnerville to begin the two mile trek down Highway 395 which would end at Minden Park. The grand marshall was Minden industrialist Don Bently, who has made many important agricultural achievements that contribute to the quality of the environment in the Carson Valley, according to parade organizers.
With 40 entries, this year’s winners were: Over All Winner: Gardnerville Tumbleweeds Gymnastics with their float driven by Ed McClain depicting gymnastic elves magically working in Santa’s toy factory while doing splits, swinging on the bars and jumping on a trampoline while fulfilling their duties for Santa in his workshop.
Service Club winner was Dayspring Christian Assembly with their theme of “Jesus is the Light,” a float driven by Richard Thran that featured a Lighthouse with waves and magical Jesus being the light as their choir sang traditional Christmas songs.
The Youth category winner was The Dance Workshop with a float driven by Craig Peters which featured dancing princesses in a holiday castle as more than 12 dancing princesses whirled and sparkled for the parade on-lookers.
The County award went to the Douglas County 4-H driven by Deb Marks and Nathan Miller.
The Business Award went to Chris Miller from Running Creek Sled Dogs which operates at Kirkwood Ski Resort and has been in business for 10 years. Miller runs a team of Alaskan Huskies while Shane Prouty, who also runs sled dogs, runs a team of Siberian Huskies. The team was followed behind by their “doggie transports” driven by Mandy Prouty and Suni Miller.