In these trying times, the 31st annual Parade of Lights is scheduled to offer a glimmer of hope and holiday spirit.
The event on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. is organized by The Four Corners Board of Realtors, and takes place on Main Street in Cortez from Maple Street to Park Street. The north side of Main Street will be closed to parking, and entries will travel down the north side of Main Street.
This year’s theme is “Maybe Christmas, Perhaps, Means a Little Bit More.”
The intent is to focus on the positives of the holidays, said Terry McCabe, parade organizer and member of the Four Corners Board of Realtors, instead of dwelling on the pandemic, divisive politics, the economy and presidential election.
“We’re saying, it’s time for everyone to lighten up,” she said. “The reason for the parade is about Christmas and the kids. Everything is on track to make it happen.”
So far, about 30 organizations and businesses have signed up to be in the parade. Last year, about 60 floats lit up Main Street.
The event will livestreamed by Mesa Media for people who do not want to attend in person.
Regarding pandemic safeguards, McCabe said people who feel ill should stay home. If concerned about attending a gathering, then it can be watched live on Mesa Media. She said is not the job of parade organizers to police the public and that it is up to each individual “to take personal responsibility for taking care of themselves.”
Montezuma County Health Department Director Bobbi Lock, who is aware of the event, urged the public to take precautions.
She said they are the same for the parade as what the agency has been educating the public about for months.
“Social distancing is critical to decreasing the spread of COVID-19,” Lock stated in an email. “Wearing a mask is the next best thing, washing hands, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces are all part of what is recommended. People who fall within the vulnerable populations should consider alternate options and make the best choices for themselves where they will feel the safest.”
The parade marshal this year will be the Dolores Playground Group. The group helped to raise funds and plan for a new playground at Joe Rowell Park, which recently was completed.
“We’re so proud to lead the parade,” said Dolores Playground Group member Keely McLain. “We have come such a long way on the playground, and now it is built. Now it’s a focus for families and kids again. We started our first fundraiser at the Parade of Lights three years ago, so getting to be the parade marshal feels like coming full circle.”
This year, local children and teenagers will be the judges of the Parade of Lights floats. The three parade categories are commercial, nonprofit and other. Judges rate floats on theme development, lights, music and workmanship. There are cash prizes for top finishers.
All prize money comes from Board of Realtor members and affiliates. There is no fee to enter a float in the Parade of Lights, and there are first-, second-, and third-place cash prizes in three entry categories. An entry form must be submitted, and the deadline for entries is Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.
The parade typically attracts hundreds of spectators, and large gatherings are a concern for public health officials.
Montezuma County recently moved to the more severe Level Orange on the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment dial.
Under Level Orange, outdoor events are capped at 75 people. The higher risk rating is a result of a steady increase in new cases in recent weeks.
Lock said an “extremely important thing we need everyone to do is avoid large gatherings that involve more than one household, two at the maximum. This falls on the individuals taking personal responsibility for themselves and those they love.”
The Four Corners Board of Realtors sponsors the Parade of Lights as a thank-you to members of the communities it serves in Montezuma and Dolores counties.
For more information or to obtain an entry form, contact any Four Corners Board of Realtors member or any local Real Estate office, or call (970) 565-8408 ext. 115.