Parade of Lights brightens snowy night
A fine dust of snowflakes floated in the stinging wind as Rugby’s Parade of Lights got underway on Main Avenue Tuesday evening.
Clusters of bundled-up spectators stood in a few spots on the sidewalk, keeping near buildings to block each blast of icy air as their children eagerly waited for candy tossed from brightly lighted floats.
And, of course, Santa was coming.
Darylanna Durkee of Rugby’s Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors’ Bureau called the 2018 parade “one of our greatest years” since its beginning. Durkee said, “The Parade of Lights has been a tradition for well over 10 years.”
The parade began with vehicles from Rugby’s first responders, and lights from a Rugby police cruiser, an ambulance, and fire trucks flashed in red, white and blue like bulbs on a Christmas tree.
Cars, trucks, and floats featuring everything from decorated farm equipment to manger scenes followed.
Durkee praised the turnout from first responders and local businesses who entered floats in the parade.
“In a good year, we have about 10 entries in the parade. This year, we had 17,” Durkee noted.
Some spectators watched the parade in their parked vehicles to stay warm.
“It seems like the weather’s always really cold for the parade,” she continued. “But it seems like Rugby’s used to it.”
Before the parade began at 6:30, downtown businesses offered opportunities to come in from the cold and enjoy some indoor activities. Main Street Boutique gave youngsters a chance to write letters to Santa before they visited him after the parade, and I Design provided space and materials to make Christmas ornaments. Rockin Relics stayed open late with pasta dishes on their menu and donation boxes in the restaurant to collect food items for the Pierce County Food Pantry.
Fashion and Flair Outlet kept shoppers warm with bowls of free chili, served with a variety of toppings, and Cindy Brossart of Cindy’s Country Cupboard handed out free holiday suckers to children at her store.
Santa Claus kept his reindeer at the North Pole, choosing a horse and buggy to ride in at the parade’s end. He took a seat on the corner of South Main Avenue and 2nd Street Southwest to hear gift requests from local children.
As spectators prepared to leave downtown for the evening, a few adults even took advantage of a photo op with Santa.
The Rugby Chamber and CVB judged float entries for a contest during the parade. They named Highway 2 Collision Center as the winner, for their spoof of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The Northern Lights Trailblazers, a snowmobiling organization, placed second, and First Lutheran Church’s “Come to the Manger” float placed third.
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