IMPERIAL —Flickering lights on marching band members’ instruments, clubs and floats bounced off the wet streets of this city, bringing awe to thousands of smiling people present at the 10th annual Parade of Lights held Friday night.
In a seemingly coordinated manner, a mist began falling just as the first of some 87 floats started the route through 15th Street and down Imperial Avenue.
The Imperial police float and the Pride of Imperial band from Imperial High School were some of the first ones to come down the street, the latter with lights shining from the musical instruments.
Shortly after Supervisor Michael Kelley, a longtime Imperial resident and grand marshal of the parade, was seen waving while riding with his family in a glimmering classic car.
Business mascots were also seen waving and dancing for the audience, which cheered at the floats and bands despite the rain that became somewhat more fluid as time passed and the night got colder.
As the float put together by inmates from the Imperial County Probation/ Corrections Department came down the street, Ivan Rivera put a blanket over his wife, Araceli, and his son Michael, 2.
“This is my first year coming,” said Rivera. “It’s pretty nice, especially for the kids. My kids love the Christmas lights.”
As Rivera spoke the rain fell even harder, and yet the smiling Heber resident said, “We are pretty sure we are going to stay the whole time.”
Moments later a trailer truck pulling the Imperial Library float honked, scaring some attendees who then laughed.
One of those laughing attendees was Heber resident Laura Monzon, 17.
“It was scary,” said Monzon with a smile just as her aunt Tina Dagnino mocked her for screaming when the truck honked right in front of her and the 12 family members with them.
“We all came in one car,” said Dagnino jokingly while referring to her family.
Meanwhile, floats and bands kept coming while some sang holiday songs.
The Imperial Valley Girl Scouts Troop 7008 sang “Jingle Bells” while behind them California Highway Patrol Officer Ernesto Ruedas zigzagged the streets while riding a miniature Highway Patrol car.
Rhianna Cano pointed at the toy car, prompting Rosa Singh to smile.
Singh and Cano, who both live in Imperial, were enjoying the parade, they said, and weren’t bothered by the rain or the cold.
“We came prepared,” said Singh while holding an umbrella. She said she was actually enjoying the weather.
“It’s perfect Christmas weather,” Singh said.
“It’s raining and yet people aren’t leaving,” said Alexis Brown, Imperial Chamber of Commerce marketing and special events coordinator.
“We said rain or shine we were going to do it (the parade), Brown said, adding, “We may be soaked but we are happy.”
And happiness was apparent on both sides of the street as the Imperial Valley Gymnastics Club made its way toward City Hall, the last stop of the parade.
Children performed cartwheels and splits on the wet pavement as some gathered around the Christmas tree that was lighted by Santa Claus, who greeted children right after the parade ended.
Imperial resident Jacob Smith, 11, was under the Christmas tree, smiling.
“It’s really cold and there (are) lots of lights” said Smith, who noted he was having fun and that his favorite thing of the evening was the rain.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com
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