The Albuquerque Twinkle Light Parade dazzled the community with 109 different entries Saturday.
“The parade is a holiday tradition that brings families, friends and co-workers together, both for the people in the parade as well as the 30,000 people that get together to watch the parade. Nob Hill is beaming with parade watchers from Washington to Girard,” said Bree Ortiz, events and operations manager of the city of Albuquerque.
Throughout the night, a panel of seven judges observed the festivities.
“I just think it’s the way the community comes together and everyone's happy we’re just enjoying the Christmas season and it’s just so beautiful out. I mean it was just a perfect night. It’s magical,” said Kiki Garcia, parade judge for the night and radio talk show host of “Carlos & Kiki in the Morning” on 93.3 KOB-FM.
From vintage cars to marching bands, every entry was covered in lights. Characters such as the Grinch, Harley Quinn, the Joker and Mickey and Minnie Mouse danced around in the streets, handing out candy to the crowd.
The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters drove a New Mexico Polar Express, decorated from the train engine to the caboose in lights. Amongst the glitz and glamor of the parade, carolers, dancers and cheerleaders also spread some holiday cheer.
“This is great. This is my first time here after living here all my life. It’s great to see everybody out enjoying what is kind of like the heart of our neighborhood. That’s a lot of fun, I’m surprised at the turnout too; it’s a big crowd,” said University of New Mexico architecture graduate student Keenan Boliek-Poling.
Garcia said her favorite float was the tumbleweed snowman from the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority.
UNM’s Reserve Officers' Training Corps made an appearance in the parade with a blow up snowman dressed in camouflage. UNM’s dance force also made an appearance by showing off their skills to the crowd.
There are 3,500 people that work together to create the parade, Ortiz said. It is mandatory for all vehicles, animals, people and floats to have twinkle lights, ensuring onlookers have a twinkling experience.
“The lights are always the best part, but it’s even better to watch everyone come together during the holidays and Christmas season and really see the community get involved again,” said UNM alum Catherine Trujillo.
As Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus finished out the parade, viewers screamed from the side, “I love you, Santa,” and children jumped for joy as the couple passed.
“The Twinkle Light Parade is a wonderful way for the community to come together for a free event and enjoy the holiday spirit. We hope that the parade continues to be a tradition for all involved,” Ortiz said.
Amy Byres is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amybyres12.