More than a hundred parked cars lined the Portales downtown streets with residents sitting in them to avoid the cold Friday night weather, a sure sign that the Light parade in honor of Christmas was being watched.
Little Miss Merry Christmas 2002, Heaven Ruiz, daughter of Henry and Martha
Ruiz, led the parade, sitting in back of a Jeep bearing Christmas lights and waving to the first to witness the parade.
Little Miss Merry Christmas 2003 candidates followed, driven in their jeeps that also bore lights, leading the way for a parade of floats.
Christmas carolers passed by, then the Baptist Children’s Home Inc. float.
Everyone cheerfully waved to recipients who returned the greeting.
“This is great as far as Christmas and the whole holiday spirit,” Jason Ford of Portales said.
Ford was there with his daughter, Athena, and his wife, Jennifer, braving the cold. Jennifer was one of the few people who got out of the car as the parade passed by.
A float representing a sleigh on behalf of the Presbyterian Church caught looks, as did a horse and its rider decorated with lights as they proudly marched forward carrying a U.S. flag. The Lutheran Church’s float passed by, too, with a brightly lit replica of a church.
Several more floats, a fire truck, then police cars traveled down the street with lights flashing to signifying the event’s conclusion.
“We enjoyed it,” Sofia Hernandez, 19, said, holding her daughter, 4-year-old Alicia. “Now we’re just waiting for all the vehicles to leave.”
Nearby, Dick and Lyndell Hood of Portales patiently waited for traffic to abate as well.
“We come every year,” Dick said of the parade. “Parades bring groups of people together in the community.”
Asked what she thought of it, Mary Garcia of Portales said, “It’s fun to get out and hear the singing, since I don’t have kids at home now. It makes people feel good inside.
The joy comes out for Christmas. It’s exciting, even if it’s cold out here.”