Friends, families and loved ones clamored to the sidewalks of Nob Hill to watch the over 100 holiday-related floats light up the streets of Albuquerque for the Twinkle Light Parade on Saturday, Dec. 4. Crowds were delighted to see the parade come back in-person after it was held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city said that “the parade is comprised of local businesses, organizations, school groups and families, all competing for Best in Show.” This included groups like the University of New Mexico Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Albuquerque Police Department and more.
The Sandia High School marching band and color guard kicked off the event by marching at the front of the parade line. Cassie Cadwell, band booster president, said she was honored to help organize and get the students ready for the event.
"It's just great to be able to get out and do another thing ... The kids weren't in it to win it; they were just so happy to be able to join the community and perform,” Cadwell said. “I'm so proud of them and glad that they had this opportunity."
Dean Allen, a cadet of UNM’s ROTC program, marched alongside other classmates, handing out holiday necklaces ahead of a truck decorated by strings of lights. This was his first time attending the parade as well as being a participant.
“There was a lot of good energy there and people were very supportive of us as well as the rest of the parade,” Allen said.
Local cashier Walin Hasan, who was working at a store in close proximity to the parade, said the shop he works at had an increase in business due to the parade activity, as did other businesses in the area. He appreciated the return of live, in-person performers, especially after last year’s event was held on Zoom.
“It’s important, especially during a pandemic, for people to get out,” Hasan said. “(We) can’t stay cooped up forever.”
Although the event was held outside and masks weren’t required, many individuals and groups asked others to put on their masks in the heavy crowd of people.
This large crowd brought other issues up as well, such as the complicated walking route for participants. Allen said it didn’t fit the spatial needs of the large audience and presentation list, creating “some slowdowns at the beginning” and “a lot of stopping and starting, traffic and blockage.” Other attendees also complained about how crowded it was in the audience on the sidewalks, making it hard to get around.
Overall, though, Hasan thought the event was a hit and anticipates more successes to come with the next batch of local holiday events this December.
Natalie Jude is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @natalaroni
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