Parade of lights hits highest wattage yet

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Saturday’s annual Chamber of Commerce Parade of Lights contained hours of preparation, dozens of participants and tens of thousands of lights. And what did kids in the crowd say they liked best about the parade?

The candy.

At least that was the answer from 5-year-olds Sierra Sandoval and Amunique Angel as well as Aubrey Ortiz, age 3, as they waited in anticipation for floats to come blazing down Washington.

Floats included a pontoon boat dressed as gingerbread house, a snaking line of lit-up jeeps and Mesalands Community College’s Tyrannosaurus Rex, joined brightly by a Pterodactyl.

Perpetual winner Herman Lopez, who took first place twice in past years, was once again aboard his Rudolph tractor. Known for adding a little extra each year to his award-winning float, this year’s added bonus was his son on a lit-up John Deere riding mower pulling the Grinch on a sleigh.

Santa, who was at Kvols Park prior to the parade, rode on a fire truck to kick off the procession while the finale float was a lit-up Port-o-John.

Parade Chairman Debbie Lafferty said four floats registered at the last minute, bringing the grand total to 22, the largest parade they’ve seen yet.

Although parade attendee Delilah Acosta’s companions were looking forward to the candy, the 23-month-old, with prompting from her father Armondo Acosta, went out on a limb and said she liked, oddly enough, the lights.

“They are bright and shiny,” she added.

Another parade reaction that cannot go unnoted is that of the judges.

The general category was topped by the Team Builders TFC Team, with second place going to the Team Builders BMS and JCC Team and third to Herman Lopez.

The Crazy Jeep Club took first place honors in the recreational category, followed by Stanley Burns in second and New Mexico State Parks Ute Lake in third.

The religious category was nabbed by First Baptist Church.

The Chamber of Commerce also judged their annual Christmas Lighting Contest on Monday. The winners were Leona Mayfield, Carla Duran and Shirley Gomez for residential lights and Kix on 66, Travelers Motor Inn and One Stop and Team Builders for the business display.

Chamber Parade of Lights winners
General: 1. Team Builders TFC Team, 2. Team Builders BMS and JCC Team, 3. Herman Lopez .
Recreational: 1. Crazy Jeep Club, 2. Stanley Burns, 3. New Mexico State Parks Ute Lake.
Religious: 1. First Baptist Church

Chamber Lighting Contest winners
Residential: 1. Leona Mayfield, 2. Carla Duran, 3. Shirley Gomez.
Business: 1. Kix on 66, 2. Travelers Motor Inn and One Stop, 3. Team Builders.