Clear and crisp conditions expected for tonight’s parade

Staff ReportsDecember 6, 2012 

While steady rain pounded the area this week, better weather is expected for the downtown Christmas parade Friday in Los Banos.

The parade is presented by the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Coldwell Banker Kaljian & Associates.

It begins at 6 p.m. The theme is "It's a Wonderful Life."

The parade, now in its 27th incarnation, is something of an institution in Los Banos. Some onlookers begin to line Sixth Street two hours before the festivities.

The annual display draws about 1,000 revelers and averages more than 50 parade entries, including trailers, hot rods, horseback riders, charros and floats of all kinds.

City Council usually rides a vintage fire engine, and Santa Claus serves as the parade's caboose. Entrants are encouraged to incorporate lights and music in their offerings.

Announcers post up at the intersections of Sixth and J streets and Sixth and H streets. Each float gets an introduction and explanation.

Annually, the participants venture north up Sixth Street and end in Henry Miller Plaza, where winners are crowned and the Los Banos High School choir carols.

In the plaza, four entrants are picked to win an award by each one's namesake: the Mayor's Award, the Chamber President's Award, the Parade Sponsor Award and the Arts Council Award.

Some float builders started piecing together their entries as early as last month.

Also hosting parades are Atwater and Livingston.

Atwater's parade will start at 7 p.m. at Ralston Park, said Connie Hunter, Chamber of Commerce president.Livingston's parade will start at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Park and end downtown, said Jacquie Benoit, recreation superintendent.

With forecasts calling for clear skies, organizers expect good turnouts at all three events.

"We're jazzed about it being nice," Benoit said. "We have never in our 10 years had rain."

A high of 59 degrees and a low of 42 are forecast for Los Banos, with a 5 percent chance of precipitation.

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