Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

New and old

 

December 11, 2019

Ron Warnick

Santa Claus riding one of the light-festooned Tucumcari Fire Department trucks ushered in the Parade of Lights down Route 66 on Saturday evening.

A new Christmas event - if a horse-drawn carriage can be called new - mixed with an old favorite, the annual Parade of Lights, over the weekend in Tucumcari.

A total of 25 lighted floats, vehicles and even animals registered for the parade Saturday evening down Route 66, a tradition that goes back decades in Tucumcari. Other non-judged entries also entered the caravan that went from the old Kmart parking lot to the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Carmen Runyan, who helped organize the event, declared it a success because the number of early entries was nearly double from last year.

The Tucumcari Historical Museum light-festooned covered wagon and Heidi Adams' float of lighted trees and flags shared first place in the general category.

Jesus Macias' float of lighted crosses won in the religious category.

The High Plains Horseman's Club entry won in the recreational category.

Save for a stiff west wind, conditions were nearly ideal for Parade of Lights participants and its hundreds of spectators: a smidge under 60 degrees.

After the parade, people flocked to the annual Christmas Expo at the convention center that included Santa Claus and several dozen arts-and-crafts booths.

Runyan said she received help from Lowes grocery for supplying gifts for complementary goody bags and the Roadrunner 4-H Club for stuffing them; Trigg Memorial Hospital for supplying cookies and hot cider; Desert Inn for supplying lodging for a professional Santa; and Tucumcari General Insurance for logistics.

On Friday evening, a carriage pulled by two Belgian draft horses owned by "Wild Horse Harry" Touloumis of Corrales provided rides on a loop from the Historic Tucumcari Depot to Main Street downtown.

Lloyd and Wanda Walkup of Clovis were the first to get in line for those rides. They gave it thumbs-up after climbing down from the carriage but acknowledged they're fans of such experiences.

"We love doing these," Wanda said. "I'll go anywhere for a horse and carriage. I'm not a horse person, but I love a horse and carriage. It's nice to have this here."

TJ Riddle, chairwoman for Tucumcari Rawhide Days, said a total of 95 adults and 45 children took part in carriage rides Friday night.

The fees from those rides "gives us a little seed money for next year's Rawhide," she said.

Nearby on the depot plaza, Cornerstone First Edition owner Todd Duplantis stirred a big pot of gumbo over a propane burner.

"It's a lot easier to make gumbo tonight," he said, noting gentle breezes amid temperatures in the upper 40s.

Duplantis had planned to cook gumbo during the Very Merry Tucumcari kickoff the previous Saturday, but wind gusts of over 50 mph that day made outdoor cooking a no-go.

 
 

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