Lucky No. 24 Parade of Lights
Let’s just say it. We got soooo lucky on Parade of Lights night this year. The forecast said it was going to rain and at 2:45 in our neighborhood it was pouring and our float builders, who were putting the final touches on their entries, needed snorkels. But that downpour passed and by 4:30 or so, the precip had backed off and by parade time at 5, we were good to go. Part two of being so lucky had to do with the next torrential downpour which held off until we were all wrapped up. Yep, we were very lucky.
Our first set of thank yous goes out to the Towns of Gardnerville and Minden, Town Managers Erik Nilssen and JD Frisby and their employees. They cover a list of tasks that seems to get longer each year and this year in particular they stepped up to some of the weather challenges and went above and beyond to make it all work.
Without the full support of Sheriff Coverley, Capt. Mitchitarian and literally everyone at Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the parade simply does not happen. From patrol to traffic control, search & rescue to SWAT, Mounted Posse to Citizens on Patrol, DARE, GREAT and all of the admin staff, they have our gratitude. (And it was very cool to see the sheriff and his family walking along with his vehicles!)
Thanks to NDOT for making make sure the parade is safe for our thousands of spectators. Ahern Rentals saves us a bunch of dough by letting us use their highway reader board to alert northbound traffic of the closure at Waterloo and they make it easy. Staging the parade is not the easiest thing in the world and volunteers Gina Macabales, McKenzie Main and Dane Pierce made sure we rolled on time and in order.
A special call out this year to Ted Thran. One of the key jobs is to set up the announcer booth on Esmeralda, and in a regular year, it’s pretty involved with hauling the Historical Society’s beefy sound system (thank you to Dennis Little at the society for letting us borrow it) down to the stage, tracking down power and making sure it all works properly. This year we added “do it in the rain and by the way, can you rig a canopy to keep the announcers and the equipment dry?” to the list and Ted just got it done. Thanks also to Kurt Pierce and the gang at COD Casino and Corley Ranch for providing our announcer stage on Esmeralda.
Which leads to our parade announcers; Drew Aguilar and Jessica Jensen (Jessica was one of the small group who started this parade 24 years ago) who add their unique touch to the parade experience in Minden, and this year judges Ursula Prebezac, Dr. Chris Blaha, Kendra Blaha and Suzanne Ruffo had the unenviable job of selecting the best floats and they chose the Sassy Smart Sierra Sisterhood, Douglas Animal Welfare Group (DAWG), the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, VIP Rubber & Plastic and the Girl Scouts’ Daisy/Brownie Troop 383/Cadettes Troop 287 as the best in their categories.
We were thrilled to honor Sally Wiley as Grand Marshal this year, recognizing her years of effort in supporting our troops and the community and thanks to Bently Heritage Distillery for providing the beautifully decked out Bently Barrel truck for her to ride in.
Santa bore an amazing resemblance to local real estate agent Bill Driscoll and provided a terrific end to the parade for both the kids and the adults who act like kids when they see Santa Claus.
This year especially our biggest thanks go to the hundreds of our neighbors who take the time to create the amazing floats and to the thousands who covered up and braved the rain to cheer and laugh and enjoy a special evening each year. We feel privileged to be a part of this extravaganza every December and with 2020 being the 25th year of this great community event, we’re looking for big things to come. See you then.
Alicia Main is manager of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce