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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 1:14 am | Fair 47º


Santa Maria Parade of Lights Spreads Christmas Cheer — and Food Donations

Thousands of spectators throng route to watch approximately 100 entries travel along Broadway to Santa Maria Town Center

Dressed as Christmas presents, students from St. Mary of the Assumption School line up next their float while awaiting the start of the Santa Maria Parade of Lights on Saturday evening. Click to view larger
Dressed as Christmas presents, students from St. Mary of the Assumption School line up next their float while awaiting the start of the Santa Maria Parade of Lights on Saturday evening. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

With dozens of entries and hundreds of participants, the Santa Maria Parade of Lights brightened Broadway with holiday spirit Saturday evening.

Kicking off at 5:20 p.m., floats, bands and others traveled north on Broadway to the Santa Maria Town Center from Stowell Road.

In all, approximately 100 entries — representing youth groups, businesses and service and nonprofit organizations — participated in the event while thousands staked out view spots along Stowell and Broadway.

The theme, “The Joy of Giving,” reflected parade organizers’ push to get participants and spectators to drop off canned and nonperishable food items in bins along the route for donation to The Salvation Army.

When the former organizer quit, members of the three Santa Maria Valley Rotary Clubs stepped up to plan, a role the groups, now including Nipomo Rotary, have held since 1995.

Awards, with cash prizes, were given out in seven categories, including best use of lights for commercial, religious, youth nonprofit, nonyouth nonprofit and other groups, along with best band and best marching group.

At the end of the route, Downtown Fridays held a special festival of lights, with food trucks, beer, wine, live music, a kid’s zone, Santa visits and more.

The Santa Maria parade was the last of three in 24 hours in northern Santa Barbara County, with the others in Lompoc and Solvang.

Old Town Orcutt’s daytime parade will start at noon Dec. 10 while Guadalupe is planned for that evening.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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