Chamber of Commerce: Courtesy photo Gaynelle Thomas, left, with the help of Katelynn Skinner, right, robes Ashlynne Goins Thursday night at the coronation for Little Miss Merry Christmas. The 11 contestants raised $5,326 in funds for Portales’ Christmas Jubilee with Goins raising the most at $2,019. The Jubilee will be today at 6:30 p.m. at Portales Town Square.
The square in Portales will be filled with Christmas themes and lights tonight as the 25th annual Christmas Jubilee kicks off with a Christmas parade, food vendors and live music, and a few new twists.
“This may be one of the best ones ever,” said Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry. “The first few years, it was pretty sparse. We used to have just 10 entries.”
Promotions Coordinator Sandy Van Der Veen said their will be 31 floats in the parade this year with various themes, such as Candy Land, Smurfs, Winter Wonderland and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
“When you’ve got that many entries, you know you’ve gotten the word out there pretty well as far as people attending,” Terry said. “Even when the weather is not perfect, people come out. Portales is a parade community. We love parades.”
Van Der Veen said the parade included about 25 floats last year, so this year has seen a small growth.
She said more businesses are participating this year than in previous years.
“We are excited to see what the entries have to offer,” Van Der Veen said. “I’m especially excited because this will be my first lighted parade to watch.”
Van Der Veen said the judges will judge each float on a five-point grading system, with three categories to choose from. The floats will be divided into business, churches and individuals.
Terry said the lead float will contain Little Miss Merry Christmas Ashlynne Goins, who was chosen at the Thursday night coronation, and other Little Miss Merry Christmas contestants.
Terry and Van Der Veen said there will be the usual dancing light show and businesses on the square will be offering one-day holiday sales, but there will also be some new twists to this year’s event.
“I didn’t add new lights this year but we probably will next year,” Terry said. “The difference this year is Santa is in the fire truck at the rear of the parade but this year, I’d like to try to talk him into getting down from the truck and go onto the square to visit with kids about their Christmas list.”
Van Der Veen said the other new twist to this year’s event is carriage rides offered to local residents by Doc Hay Wedding Carriage Services.
“It’s definitely grown,” Van Der Veen said of the event.