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Victoria lights up for holiday parade (videos)

By Keldy Ortiz
Dec. 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Updated Dec. 2, 2012 at 6:02 a.m.

Brian Hynes and his daughter, Ainsley, 6, watch as the Lighted Christmas Parade makes its way back up Bridge Street Saturday night in downtown Victoria. Doug Cochran, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Victoria, estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 people attended the parade.

2012 Lighted Christmas Parade winners

Awards were given out to various floats.

• MOST SPIRITED: Fight For Sam

• BEST USE OF LIGHTS: Martin Luther Lutheran Church

• BEST SOUNDING HIGH SCHOOL BAND: Victoria East High School

• MOST CREATIVE: Crossroads Veterinary Clinic

• BEST SOUNDING MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND: The West Learning Community Middle School Band, a collaboration of Cade and Patti Welder middle schools

• MOST USE OF LIGHTS: Sonic Drive-in

Kids on parents' shoulders, holiday jingles, Christmas trees and, of course, Santa Claus.

Saturday evening was a cause for celebration in downtown Victoria, as parade spectators lined up to watch the Lighted Christmas Parade.

The parade featured 146 entries while between 10,000 to 15,000 people packed the sidewalks, officials estimated.

Before the parade began, just blocks away from the festivities, volunteers put last-minute touches on respective floats before they were put on display for the crowd.

Dressed up in pajamas, Krstie Hartman, of Frost Insurance, was designating roles for her friends. Their theme was "The Night Before Christmas."

"When you're little, you're excited because Santa is going to come," said Hartman, who related the float to her own childhood.

"Me and my mom would always leave cookies for Santa," Hartman recalled. "I would go to my bed and stay awake, thinking about the gift I really wanted."

While Hartman was the mastermind behind the float, Roxy Franco joined in to help her friend because she liked the theme.

It's about being "the kid at heart that we all have," Franco said.

Blocks away, Victoria Environmental Services Director Darryl Lesak was drilling on his float. With a loading bay full of wrapped boxes on the flatbed trailer, the theme was Santa's workshop.

Lesak said members of Victoria West High School spent a month helping make the float.

"We want to stress thinking green," he said, as he mentioned recyclable bottles were collected to create a tree on the float.

When the parade started, people watched with amazement.

Chris Rivera held his daughter, Leyla, 3, on his shoulders. Breaking a sweat as he was holding her, Rivera said it was worth it as she pointed at the passing floats.

"I want her to have as good a Christmas as I did when I was young," said Rivera about his reason for coming out. "She can actually realize what's going on. She will absorb the experience of Christmas."

At one point, parade officials halted the procession briefly as medics took care of a medical emergency.

Heather Ramos didn't notice because she was focused on attending to her 7-week-old niece, Cassidy.

"This is her first parade, and she seems to be enjoying the lights," she said. "This is a good start to the holidays. We have a wonderful addition."

As Hartman made her way through the parade route on her float, she said she hoped people would understand the theme.

"I want them to remember when they were little," she said. "We all have a little kid in all of us."

To see a photo gallery of Christmas parade, clickhere

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