OUR VIEW: Holiday activities are worth the effortMitchell’s Parade of Lights was born as a chance to see the U.S. Capitol Holiday Tree. It once doubled as a celebration marking the town’s 125th anniversary. It has been held in gorgeous early winter weather and in frigid cold. It overcame an interesting controversy about its exact title.
Mitchell’s Parade of Lights was born as a chance to see the U.S. Capitol Holiday Tree. It once doubled as a celebration marking the town’s 125th anniversary. It has been held in gorgeous early winter weather and in frigid cold. It overcame an interesting controversy about its exact title.
And after just a decade, we wonder if we have seen the last of the Parade of Lights.
Parade committee members met earlier this week and declared that the event is in jeopardy, due to a declining number of floats entered in the event, which has been held on Mitchell’s Main Street since 2003.
Crowds still seem interested, but entries are dwindling.
We vote to continue the parade, but we understand if it dies out. A parade without floats isn’t much of a parade, and that’s a rather dim way to begin the holiday season.
Our first reaction is to urge businesses throughout town to enter floats in the parade.
But when we truly question whether even The Daily Republic will enter a float, we can’t honestly say yes.
Winter-time parades aren’t easy. Generators are needed to make floats bright and festive. Chilly weather sometimes makes it difficult to construct the floats, and also to recruit people to ride on them.
Too, the Parade of Lights is the third parade held in Mitchell each year and during a very short span, from mid-July to mid-November. That’s three parades in 16 weeks.
Mitchell’s holiday parade began in 2003 in part as an event to showcase the U.S. Capitol Holiday Tree, which was passing through town on its way from Idaho to Washington, D.C.
In 2006, the parade doubled as a party to commemorate Mitchell’s 125th birthday, which nearly passed by unnoticed.
In 2008, everyone finally agreed on the true name of the parade, which also had been called the Holiday Parade of Lights and Holiday of Lights Parade.
If the parade does indeed die — and we hope it does not — we hope another similar event will arise to take its place.
We envision a party centered around the city’s Main Street Christmas tree, as well as at the Corn Palace. We see numerous choirs — from Mitchell, Mount Vernon, Ethan and other towns — taking turns singing Christmas carols.
Youth dance groups and bands should be invited to perform. Those ensembles always draw a crowd.
We imagine baking and cooking contests, chili and soup feeds and Santa Claus.
If those events won’t bring the people, perhaps drawings and contests will.
And in our vision, we see this all happening on Main Street, where stores have left their doors open for business and welcome visitors inside to browse.