Hundreds of spectators lined the downtown streets of Williams. Some bundled up against the wintery chill, while others enjoyed last Saturday’s holiday festivities during the Festival of Lights.
The evening began with the downtown stroll of vendors, followed by the lighting of the tree in Town Square.
With just seven official entries, the parade featured the Glenn-Colusa Cattlewomen, Williams Hardware Store, the Williams Police Department and Fire Department, as well as the Williams Community Church, the Shakespeare Book Club, the Citizens for a Better Williams, J.V.’s Grooming, and T&P Farms.
“It was a great parade,” said Williams resident, Angela Sharp. “It was short but was a great show.”
For the judges it was difficult selecting winners.
“I liked the Cattlewomen’s entry with the kids riding on the barrels,” said Araceli Plaza. Roxane Cranford added she, too, like the Cattlewomen’s entry.
“Williams Hardware Store had a great entry. I loved the sleigh with the kids. It was super cute,” said Christina Solis.
Clara Espindola said she enjoyed the Williams Community Church’s entry. “It was traditional and showcased the reason for the season,” she said.
Winners were selected and received $200 for 1st place, $100 for 2nd place, and $50 for 3rd place.
The event, hosted by the Citizens for a Better Williams, was started in 2008.
“The event was started because nothing took place at Christmas in Williams,” said Ash. “When I lived in Fort Bragg, they had a similar event held with great success. So we decided to give it a go here.”
While searching through the archives here at the Pioneer Review, it appeared the community enjoyed and supported the tradition of holiday lights on wheels. Yet, participation has been decreasing.
“I was pleased with the turnout of the community, but I am disappointed in the participation turnout,” said CBW President Pat Ash. “Over the years, parade entries have declined, but more people attend the event each year. We are going to have to rethink the event to encourage more participation.”
In 2008, a total of 27 entries dazzled the crowd. In 2016, only seven parade entries participated.
“It’s puzzling. Weather could have been a factor, but participation has been down the last couple of years,” said Ash.
Seeking suggestions, Ash has invited interested parties to attend the monthly meetings of the Citizens for a Better Williams, held at 6 PM on the fourth Monday of the month upstairs at the Lodge, 528 7th Street in Williams.
“I would like to thank those who have participated in this year’s event,” said Ash. ■