‘Toyland’ makes parade watchers joyful

Grand Junction Pipe’s GJ Express blows a cloud of steam into the frosty night as it chugs down Main Street in the Parade of Lights.

The pink polka-dotted elephant naps as the Grand Junction Surgical Center’s “Island of Misfit Toys” wends through the crowd along Main Street during the Parade of Lights.

Heidi, a fire dancer with Fuego del Luz, entertains the crowd with her burning webs during the Parade of Lights Saturday.

The combination of candy and toys was enough to leave any child, and even some adults,  joyful Saturday during the annual Parade of Lights.

The theme this year was “Toyland,” which gave the nearly 100 entries in this year’s parade the chance to highlight different toys in any sort of way on the floats. Many companies, groups and organizations took advantage.

“I liked the Hot Wheels one out of all the toy ones,” said Alexia Lewis, 9.

“I liked the green monster on the train,” said Morgan Carter, 5. She is Alexia’s cousin, and the green monster Morgan referred to was Shrek, the popular character from the animated Dreamworks movies.

Of course, Morgan was a bit biased. Morgan’s father was on the Grand Junction Pipe & Supply float with a miniature Shrek on board. The employees of the local company spent nine months building and lighting the “GJ Express” train float, which was so full of lights the float illuminated half a city block down Main Street.

The girls watched the parade with their grandparents near the Seventh Street roundabout, where most floats slowed down enough to give people ample time to hand out candy to eager children and adults.

The freezing temperatures — the windchill was 8 degrees at 7 p.m., according to the National Weather Service — didn’t stop children from screaming for candy.

The cold temperatures just forced children to try to pick up candy while wearing mittens. Some children held their plastic bags out, so they didn’t have to move their hands at all.

Thousands of people lined the parade route from Eighth Street to First Street by 4:30 p.m., 30 minutes before the parade started, proving the Parade of Lights remains one of the city’s most popular parades and holiday activities for young and old.

The theme of “Toyland” got children and adults thinking Saturday about what their favorite toys are and what they might wish for this holiday season. For Alexia, picking a favorite toy was difficult. Morgan had no trouble naming her favorite toy.

“My Strawberry Shortcake doll,” Morgan said.

After thinking a little and jumping around a lot, Alexia decided that it was her scooter.

“I like to go around my house,” she said. “It’s awesome.”


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