Main Street in Garden City turned into a steam of lights Sunday night as hundreds came out on a pleasant December evening to take in what has become a holiday staple for the community.
The annual Christmas parade, presented by Burtis Motor Co. and this year sporting the theme "Polar Express," featured its share of Santas, Grinches and Santa's little helpers — some walking, some riding motorcycles, dune buggies and all-terrain vehicles, and others waving from flat-bed trailers.
Whatever the float, though, almost every one was decked out in holiday lights and decor as it made its way down Main Street.
“This is my favorite parade because everyone goes all out,” said Sarah Trapp, 36, of Garden City, who drove a truck pulling a wagon decorated as the “Radio Flyer Express.” It was full of Santa’s toys and employees of First National Bank, which sponsored the float.
Fifteen members of the The Kourageous Kids 4-H Club showed up to display their spirit during this Christmas season.
“This is a good community service opportunity, and it’s really fun, too,” said 4-H’er Audrey Norquest, 14, of Garden City.
One of the club’s leaders, Lora Norquest, 50, of Garden City, said the club participates in the parade every year.
“It’s a beautiful evening,” she said. “We have done this on freezing nights, and this is perfect. It’s beautiful. It couldn’t be better.”
Members of the modern show choir from Garden City High School were excited to walk in the parade and tell everyone about their upcoming concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18.
“We sing songs and we dance to them,” said Giselle Martinez, 16. “It just brings a lot of holiday cheer, and it just makes everyone excited with all the music.”
It took the people at Garden City Power Sports a full day to deck out three ATVs in Christmas lights and decorations.
“We love the community, and we love the Christmas spirit Garden City has, and we wanted to be a part of that,” said Taylor Becker, 20, of Garden City. “We love ATVs and getting able to decorate and make them Christmas; it makes us excited.”
Emily Biernacki, 20, of Lakin, walked in the parade to encourage people to check out books from the Finney County Public Library this season. She noted that there are four shelves of Christmas books for children, plus all of the seasonal favorites for older readers.
“There’s nothing that can beat reading a warm fuzzy book about Christmas at home,” she said.
Hannah Proffitt, 42, of Garden City, worked together with her friends from Garden Valley Church to help the community celebrate Christmas in a giant way.
“It’s just a nativity scene done to look like stained glass,” she said.
Proffit said that since the project, which included four panels in 10-foot frames, took two months to put together, they decided to use this one for three years in a row. She said they used plastic tablecloths cut in triangles to replicate the stained glass and a thick, black plastic cut out to represent the shepherds, angels, wise men and stable.
“We’ve been involved with the Christmas parade since 2002,” she said. “There’s a lot of people that this has become their tradition to come ride the float in the Christmas parade.”
Laila Garcia and Alyssa Fine, both 9, of Garden City, joined their classmates and teachers from Edith Scheuerman Elementary School on a float where they not only sang Christmas songs but also signed them for the hearing impaired
“It’s fun, and I wanted to give everyone some happy cheer,” Garcia said.
Veronica Medrano, 36, and her sister, Ana Buruca, 38, both of Garden City, had a free gift for the spectators of the nearly hour-long parade.
“We’ve been in it the last three to four years,” she said. “But this year, we decided that since it was so big, we would serve hot chocolate.”
They served 20 gallons of hot chocolate to 120 people.
“It’s a good community bonding thing,” Buruca said.
Rhonda Vigil, 48, of Garden City, who watched the parade with her husband and son, said the event puts her in the holiday mood.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s our favorite parade of the year. It gets us in the spirit for sure.”