Downtown Charles City aglow as Holiday Lighted Christmas Parade rolls through town
By Kelly Terpstra, email@example.com
The sky lit up over the Cedar River near the Main Street Bridge as fireworks culminated the annual Holiday Lighted Parade in downtown Charles City on Friday night.
“This is awesome,” said Rebecca Ringer.
Ringer, who is originally from Charles City, traveled from the Omaha area to celebrate an early Christmas with her family back in Iowa. Her two sons, Weston and Wyatt, took part in the Hy-Vee Candy Cane Hunt prior to the start of the lighted parade.
“We have 10 grandsons and one granddaughter and a baby coming. Our Christmas had to be early because she can’t travel,” said Weston and Wyatt’s grandmother, Lin Sinclair.
Holiday revelers lined the streets of downtown Charles City to wave at Santa or witness the procession of beautiful floats created by local businesses and organizations that slowly drove down Main Street. Kids also hurriedly rushed to pick up candy thrown by participants of the parade – which took about 20 minutes to complete.
“This went well. We had a lot of happy kids here,” said Sinclair.
Just down the street from the parade, many people were able to warm up at the Columbus Club from temperatures that hovered in the teens outside to take part in the Floyd County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Shivering Soup Supper.
The meal – which featured hearty soups like chili, cheesy potato and hot dogs for the kids – was sponsored by the Floyd County Advisory Board.
Board member Gloria Carr said it was a good turnout for the second annual event. She said close to a thousand dollars was raised during last year’s freewill donation meal.
Yolanda Williams is executive director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa that covers seven counties, including Floyd. She was busy pouring drinks and making sure attendees of the meal were taken care of. She said the advisory board planned the date to coincide with the lighted parade.
“Instead of being separate events, people can come, do the soup supper, take part in the parade and really kind of kick off the holiday festivities,” said Williams.
Mark Wicks, community development director, said the Holiday Lighted Parade has taken place in Charles City for at least the last 15 years. He also said fireworks have ended the parade in year’s past.
Jen Solomon, Charles City events coordinator, said there were around 20 floats that signed up for this year’s parade. After Santa rode in the parade, he was able to let kids sit on his lap at the Santa House so he could hear what the children wanted for Christmas.
Solomon said she was thankful for all the volunteers and sponsors who contributed their time and effort to make the Holiday Lighted Parade another success.
“I’ve actually lived in an area that’s a bigger community and they don’t have anything like this,” said Solomon. “I just think it’s great that the community has gotten together and it’s just wonderful.”
The Santa House will also be open on Saturdays Dec. 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Dec. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon; and on Sunday, Dec. 22, from 2-4 p.m.
Winners of float awards:
• Best Use of Theme – Valero.
• Brightest – St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.
• Community Revitalization President’s Pick – Immaculate Conception School.