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Correction to a previous statement regarding the involvement of Chaffee County Search and Rescue (CCSR). They will continue to assist Salida Business Alliance (SBA) and High Country Bank in lining floats up for the Parade of Lights, helping Salida Business Alliance and Dan Sack as they have for several years. The CCSR had nothing to do with the decision regarding candy distribution. That was made by SBA with support from the City of Salida. “The safest way to hand out candy is at the hot cocoa station and at Santa’s reception area,” said City of Salida Administrator Drew Nelson. “We look forward to seeing you there!” (Reporter assumed a contiguous source of information and incorrectly connected two phrases.)

Yes, Halloween is just around the corner, but many families are already planning ahead for the December holidays. For locals and visitors alike that means the must-see, annual Parade of Lights in downtown Salida, to be held the night after Thanksgiving, on Friday Nov. 25, 2022.

With a recent announcement confirming that long-time Parade of Lights organizer, the Salida Business Alliance (SBA) is closing up shop on December 31, the future of this hallowed tradition seemed uncertain. But on Oct. 23, the employees of High Country Bank announced that “they could not let the Parade of Lights tradition fall by the wayside so they (along with SBA members) will continue the tradition this year and for the future.”

According to High Country Bank’s Robin NeJame, the bank will continue to preserve the magic of one of the top events of the year that the whole community enjoys. Holiday music will ring out, hot chocolate will be served at the corner of 2nd and F streets, and of course, the parade will kick off, this year with a theme of  “The Night of the Nutcracker”.

Rain-goats pull sleigh amidst confetti Photo Merrell Bergin

Organizers are encouraging everyone to create floats, add costumed marchers, lead their equine family (or other well-behaved animals) and show off local merchants and service groups.

(Indeed, old-timers will recall years gone by when 4-H animals lined F Street, with snow lightly falling during the event, causing more than one visitor to be inspired enough to move to Salida.)  This year, there is no cost to enter and in addition to bragging rights, the First Place entry in each category will receive $50 and a trophy.

The deadline to enter is approaching: Friday, Nov. 18

Time is rushing by — those planning to enter should start brainstorming ideas with family, friends and co-workers. Entry forms are available at High Country Bank or the Salida Chamber of Commerce both on Highway 50. For more information, call Dan Sack, 719-221-6974 or Vickie Sue Vigil, 719-539-6691.

As they have for the past several years, Chaffee County Search and Rescue will be helping the parade planners line up the floats for the event.

Salida Parade of Lights Teagan Tracy poses with Santa (Photo by Rochelle Tracy)

Thanks to High Country Bank employees and SBA members taking the reigns, Santa will once again greet children after the parade at Riverside Park’s bandshell after he lights up Christmas Mountain.

While in Riverside Park, the community is invited to take a stroll around the Holiday Park, featuring dozens of local-business sponsored holiday trees, which will be lit and open for everyone to enjoy.

The Salida Business Alliance Board notes that they will be financially supporting the Parade of Lights for 2022 as well as offering the highly-prized, collectible 2023 ornaments for their 30th and final year.

Speaking for the SBA board, President Angel Rowell said “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for 43 years of support.”

Featured image: A massive crowd surged into F St. at the conclusion of the Salida Parade of Lights to see the lighting of Christmas Mountain U.S.A. AVV file photo.