Hundreds of people lined the streets for the 11th annual Festival of Lights.
Food vendors, Christmas carolers, and a beautifully decorated Town Square in downtown Williams on Saturday got people from Colusa County and beyond into the holiday spirit, but it was the parade that was the hallmark of the event.
“The Citizens for a Better Williams does a fantastic job of putting this event on,” said Tim Wright, parade announcer. “They are citizens and they are trying to make a better Williams for everyone.”
Prior to the parade, people strolled though Town Square’s new Festival of Trees, an artificial forest decorated beautifully with lights, out of respect for the 1.6 million acres of forestland lost in 2018 to wildfires.
“We want to thank the City of Williams for helping us do this,” said Pat Ash, Citizens for a Better Williams. “We are going to keep adding (more trees) to it every year.”
CBW purchased new lights with a grant from the city, and others donated lights and trees as well, Ash said. Eddie Rios Signs painted the sign explaining the reasoning for the Festival of Trees.
“The trees are beautiful,” said Angela Morales, whose kids ran around the square. “I love that they did this instead of cutting a live tree.”
The parade had 13 entries, although Granzella’s and Depue Warehouse had technical difficulties that forced them out of the parade before they got to the judges’ stand.
The parade stepped off at Redinger Park and worked its way down Seventh Street to E Street and on to the old gymnasium at the Sacramento Valley Museum, escorted by the Williams Police Department.
Many of the parade participants nailed the “Ebenezer Scrooge” theme.
Indivisible Colusa County picked up first place and $300, and Kent Boes Mobile DJ picked up second place and $200, for their period “Christmas Carol” depictions, which included the cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas until he is haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
Williams Hardware earned the third-place nod and $100 for their giant Santa Claus float.
The Goforth family, Reynolds family, Colusa County Sheriff’s Office Boat Patrol, Charter Farms (Old No. 29), Williams Fire Department, and Citizens for a Better Williams also had floats in the parade, which delighted children, parents, and grandparents.
Even 18-month-old Jackson Cardosa squealed with delight at the lights of the parade passing him by.
“He came last year but he didn’t know what was going on,” said his mom, Dee Dee Cardosa, of Colusa.
The Cardosa family had attended Colusa’s Christmas Tyme the evening before, and came to Williams specifically for the parade. The sirens and all the people also thrilled the lad, as he laughed and pointed to the delights of the bustling downtown.
“He doesn’t know a stranger yet,” Cardosa said. “He’s very friendly.”
Visitors to the downtown enjoyed tacos, tamales, baked goods, music, hot chocolate, gift shopping, and more from the many vendors who lined both sides of the street between the Williams Arch and Seventh Street. The Colusa County Choir performed a variety of traditional holiday songs in the Town Square.
Ash thanked all the participants for their creativity and the volunteers who helped put on the 11th annual Festival of Lights. ■