Annual Christmas light procession draws thousands to downtown

Benna Sayyed

The Tapia sisters have been to larger parades in Phoenix and their native Los Angeles but the Portales Christmas parade Saturday did not disappoint them.

Portales Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karl Terry estimated more than a thousand people lined the 2-mile path the parade took starting at the Portales Recreation Center to downtown.

The Tapias, Andrea, 15, and Suzie, 13, volunteered to sell hot chocolate and hot cider with the St. Helen Catholic Church youth group this year at the 25th annual Portales Christmas Jubilee which kicked off with the Christmas parade.

Their sales of hot beverages helped warm parade spectators in the cold weather and also raised money for their group to go on religious retreats.

“I enjoyed seeing all the little kids throw candy from the floats. I liked seeing everyone having a good time with a smile on their face and just being happy,” said Suzie Tapia, a Portales Junior High student who moved to Portales from Phoenix with her family about a year ago.

She said she enjoyed the Christmas parade in Portales last year and was just as pleased this year.

Suzie said the parade is exactly what she imagined it to be this year, beautiful sparkling lights and warm smiles on everyone’s faces.

Andrea Tapia, a student at Portales High School and the older sister of Suzie, said the Christmas parade she attended in Phoenix was much bigger and had more floats and the weather was not nearly as cold. The parade’s size did not diminish Andrea’s excitement though.

“The parade distracts us in a good way. There’s nothing to do here so we can come out and entertain ourselves,” Andrea said.

“It was little but it was cool.”

Andrea’s favorite float carried the Grinch.

Terry said this year much work was put into the floats and the other parade entries.

“People went all out. The highlight is just seeing all the people out enjoying themselves and having a good time,” Terry said.

According to Terry, the number of parade entries was not a record but the procession was larger than 2010. He said this year’s procession was one of the biggest the city of Portales has seen.

“These kinds of things in Portales are very important. We all get a chance to get together for a little while. An event like this is all about family and about bonding,” Terry said.