Valley lights off Christmas season
On Saturday afternoon, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce Director Bill Chernock was staring out the window of his office watching clouds break like the surf over the Sierra.
“Carson Valley residents are troopers,” he said. “We’ve been getting calls asking if the parade is still going on. When we told them it was unless there was a public safety reason to cancel it, they said, ‘We’ll be there.’”
And there they were on Saturday night for the 24th annual Parade of Lights as a light drizzle and occasional snowflakes accompanied the parade.
The weather was an improvement over the freezing fog that obscured Thursday night’s fireworks show in Heritage Park.
The fog was still around for Friday’s Christmas celebrations in Minden and Genoa, but had less of an impact on those events.
Despite the weather, hundreds of residents turned out for the town’s celebrations greeting the arrival of the Christmas season.
A giant plastic snowglobe donated by Blue Sky Events dominated downtown Minden on Friday night.
After helping Conner Hawk throw the switch for the gazebo, Santa took his seat inside to listen to children’s Christmas requests.
“Attendance was down this year due to the cold night but a fun time was had by all who braved the cold,” Town Manager JD Frisby said. “Additions to the park lights were the light tree on the flag pole and the white light tunnels down the walkways. I think all the lights turned out really nice this year and would encourage people that were unable to attend to come by and see them before Christmas.”
Genoans packed the town church before heading down to greet Santa at Hope Falcke’s tree.
Chamber Manager Alicia Main said there were an estimated 1,000 people at the parade.
“There were Grinches, Snoopys and Ovaltine covering all of the holiday classics, with plenty of lights and candy,” she said. “As if on cue, the rain stopped about five minutes before the parade began and waited to resume until it was all over, bringing with it the warmest temperatures we had seen all week.”
Where Gardnerville’s fireworks were obscured by the fog, the literal fire show that was Controlled Burn’s entry into the parade was clear as a bell as the bursts of flame rattled windows downtown.
But as impressive as the fire performers were, they didn’t really reflect the parade’s theme, “Favorite Holiday Movies.”
VIP Rubber won in the business category with their “Rudoph the Red-nosed Reindeer” entry complete with the Island of Misfit Toys.
The Sassy Smart Sierra Sisterhood donned masks to portray characters from “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” while dressing up the vehicle towing the float as the taxi from “Scrooged.”
“We decided on a mashup, thus the taxi from Scrooged driven by Ghost of Christmas Present and the rest of us as our interpretation of Muppet Christmas Carol characters,” said Susan Ditz of the Sisterhood. “The little unicorn princess fairy was Annabelle Jarm of Gardnerville who wanted to join in after we recruited her mom, Mandy Sidwell to be Gonzo.”
Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” wielded the box containing the coveted Red Ryder carbine action Daisy BB gun from the movie in a rolling set complete with the ladies’ leg lamp from the movie in The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California’s winning entry.
Douglas Animal Welfare Group reprised “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with a life-sized Snoopy and Woodstock in front of a decorated Christmas tree.
And the judges were not able to resist the Whoville Scouts float from Daisy-Brownie troop 383 and Cadettes troop 287’s homage to “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
Both the Douglas High and Pau-Wa-Lu Middle school bands marched in the parade.
Chernock predicted the 55-entry parade would move pretty quickly on Saturday with the impending weather. It managed to clear Gardnerville by 6 p.m.
By 6:45 p.m. the roads opened up, and about 15 minutes later the skies followed suit dumping nearly an inch of rain overnight.