MODESTO — Lights twinkled, spectators shivered and bands strutted as the Modesto Celebration of Lights parade marched on rain-cleansed streets.
A storm front that had moved in earlier than expected had washed everything clean, but was gone by the time the Dickens Faire opened at 9 a.m.
Fred Porran watched light-bedecked lowrider cars stop, rock and roar their way past as he waited for his granddaughters Girl Scouts troop to pass. Ive lived here 40 years and this is the first time Ive come to this, he said. Its good for the little ones good for the community.
Sitting since 3 p.m. to secure an annual spot were Toni Dunger and her family. Youve gotta have your traditions, she said.
Tucked warmly into folding chairs in her familys favorite location by the McHenry Museum, Meredith Ferguson said she was enjoying the night, even with temperatures in the low 40s. Ive been coming to this spot for the Fourth of July parade since I was 12, she said.
Standing nearby, Brandie Delreal said she hadnt come to the winter parade in a decade, but she was glad she did. She said her favorite parade moment was the Paul Mitchell float. They did all the Who-dos and the makeup. They were so cute, she said.
Who hairdos, in keeping with the Doctor Seuss Holidays in Whoville parade theme, were also worn by dancers and band members. Salida Middle School alto saxophone player Alyssa Ortegas hair was sprayed green and pink, with three braids wired into loops. Bandmate Sage Whiting, her hair green and standing straight up, said she likes being Cindy Lou Who, but It just feels like being bald, actually.
Enochs High freshman Austin Owens watched a little glumly. Last year, the drummer would have marched with the Ustach Middle School band, but bad weather canceled the event. It rained on his parade, didnt it, said his grandmother Susan Hanson sympathetically.
Ustach clarinet player Lucy Liu marched this year for the first time after weeks of excited practice.
Floats being readied before the parade fairly crackled with anticipation. Arranging nets of holiday lights over his 9-foot tall pickup with its 47-inch tires, Brandon Young said he enjoys decking out his truck each year.
On t The Electrical Workers Local 684 had about 70 strings of lights wound around poofy Whoville trees on their truck, blinking in time with music. A laconic Grinch, played by 11-year-old Nick Powell, waited to step into the chimney. Dad Billy Powell said the group re-created the float after last years cancellation, all powered by a 30-amp generator.
Waiting impatiently with a milewide smile, Luv 2 Dance leader Meg Harter said she was ready to have fun. Thats what its all about! she said. She would be riding in the truck with the youngest dancers. The license plate on the truck: THGRNCH the Grinch.
After tripping the light fantastic along I and J streets, Harters smile hadnt wavered. I couldnt believe it. There were so many people, it was actually warm walking by, she said. It was so much fun, I want to do it again.
Also happy at parades end was Mike Dunn of Westurf Nursery. His first parade entry included a variety of the most Who-like trees in the nursery, decorated in lights. Dunn said hell be back next year now that we know what its all about. It was fun.