Christmas parade helps downtown gain exposure

Liliana Castillo

The Clovis Light Parade entrants have the opportunity to compete for cash this year.

The parade will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday and follow Main Street from 14th to Grand Avenue. The city’s Christmas tree, located in front of the Curry County Courthouse, will be lit at 5:45 p.m.

Entrants who pay a $20 entry fee compete for a cash pool raised by those entry fees. The entry that receives first place out of paid entries will win the cash prize.

Clovis MainStreet has hosted the parade for five years and all involved say it’s fitting for the program to host a parade that annually attracts thousands to the downtown area.

“The parade is something Clovis MainStreet is really passionate about because it’s downtown,” Executive Director Robyne Beaubien said.

Beaubien said the parade helps achieve the organization’s goal of drawing traffic to the downtown area.

“People can see the businesses that are here, see the new businesses, have a taste of what is there,” Beaubien said. “It’s good exposure for our downtown businesses. Even though the parade is in the evening and most of the shops will be closed, people can still see what we have to offer.”

Last year, it was estimated that 6,000 attended the parade. There were more than 80 entries in the 2009 parade and more than 100 in 2008. Beaubien said there are 60 entries registered for this year’s parade and several come in the last few days before the parade.

Entry forms are available at the Clovis and Curry County Chamber of Commerce and at MainStreet. Both entities can e-mail, fax or hand interested parties a form.

The entry fee is $20 or a donation of 20 canned goods to the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico. Canned good donors are not eligible for cash prizes.

Beaubien said miscommunication caused an early start at last year’s parade. She said the issue has been resolved and it won’t happen again.

Awards will be given for first and second place in three categories of floats, walking and marching groups and automobiles.

The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Friday.

Clovis MainStreet President Lisa Dunagan said the theme for the parade, Windy Winter Wonderland, is a tribute to the area’s natural resource and is connected to future promotions by the organization featuring wind, including a possible wind festival.

“The parade gets people downtown to see the progress we’re making. And it’s very fitting to have parades in downtown or in the heart of the city,” Dunagan said.

Dunagan said she believes that an evening parade naturally draws a bigger crowd because people are ready to go out.

Clovis MainStreet Secretary Phil Williams, who owns the Clovis Depot Model Train Museum in downtown, said he and other officials will be clad in light reflective vests so they’ll be easier to find in the dark.

“I think it (the parade) is one of the highlights of the Christmas season, both on number of participants and work put into floats. With the enthusiasm I see when entrants check in and the crowds along Main Street, people are excited. Most of the time, it’s windy and cold and we still get a big turnout. So people really do enjoy it, both as participants and spectators,” Williams said.

An award ceremony will be held 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Master’s Center.