Spirits not dampened by rain at Holiday Parade of Lights

By Patrick Fisher

The weather may have been wet and rainy for the Holiday Parade of Lights, but that didn’t stop the glow from the entries or the large crowd that turned out for the Thursday, Dec. 9, event in New Prague.

What was probably a first in the event’s history, rain fell throughout the ninth annual celebration. Umbrellas were as evident as winter jackets as people watched the 28 entries make their way down Main Street early in the evening. Beginning at Church Street near St. Wenceslaus Church the lighted floats and vehicles traveled west to the corner of Main Street and First Avenue NW.

Among the participants in this year’s parade were: Ace Hardware and Paint, Alvis’ Angels, Bargain Betty’s, Charisma Specialty Shoppe, Chart, City of New Prague, Domaci Dancers, HE Westerman Lumber, Helping Hands, Hymnus, I’ve Got Connection, Jordan Royalty, KCHK Radio, Laker’s New Prague Sanitary, Mahowalds Autos & Sports, McMahon’s Snyder Drug, Minnesota Valley Electric Co-op (MVEC), Miss Belle Plaine, Montgomery Sportsmen’s Club, National Lending Service, New Prague Ambulance, New Prague High School hockey team, New Prague Middle School Student Council, New Prague Snowdrifters, New Prague Utilities Commission, Seneca Foods, State Bank of New Prague and YES for Schools.

Each entry was judged and there were seven awards given out at the Parade of Lights. Winners included New Prague Utilities Commission for Best Overall. Kim Gassner, executive director of the New Prague Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event, said this was the fifth consecutive year for the Utilities Commission to win that award.

Skate with Santa

After the parade many people headed over to the New Prague Area Community Center for the annual Skate with Santa. While the Jolly Old Elf talked with children about what they wanted, Mrs. Claus was skating with the people who came to the event sponsored by the community center and the New Prague Chamber of Commerce.

The New Prague Community Band provided a variety of Christmas music for the skaters. Also skating with the people were members of the New Prague High School boys hockey teams, the cheerleaders and the New Prague Area Figure Skating Club.

Connie Bartelt, manager of the community center, said 500 people attended the event. Many of them dropped off non-perishable food items, hats, mittens and scarves that were donated to the New Prague Peace Center. Children who donated clothing had their names entered for a drawing. She said the high school art club did a great job providing decorations and props for the center and for Santa.

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