SOLEDAD — The online community group Front Street hosted the Christmas Parade of Lights on Dec. 18, which brought Soledad the unique trait of holding two parades this month, the first having been led by the Chamber of Commerce.
The Front Street parade, which was open to all locals with no pre-registration process, included a total of 50 participants who hit the streets with their cars, trucks, semis, tractors, all-terrain vehicles and more.
“The response was so festive and welcoming,” said Maria Ruiz-Corralejo, Front Street organizer. “As we drove around town, you could see people along the route. Some had on Christmas hats and others had on Christmas light necklaces around their necks. All were smiling, laughing, honking, waving, recording the parade with their cells, and children trying to catch bubbles.”
Vehicles came with decorations or strings of lights, but some people created mobile sights, such as the lifted truck with singers in the back, or a truck with three people dressed up in a nativity scene.
South County Animal Rescue rode in a truck, in which the bed sat people with dogs and puppies. Pawsitively Clean Pet Solutions featured two people in dog costumes with a bubble machine.
“For car lovers, there were sporty cars, classics, muscle cars and low riders bouncing as they hit the hydraulic switches,” Ruiz-Corralejo said.
The event originally planned to have two phases, the parade to begin the evening celebration and then a community area at City Hall, where people could go to food trucks or potentially receive gifts from a toy drive held in November.
However, escalating rates of Covid-19 led to state and county restrictions on any sort of gathering, causing plans to shift to only the drive-thru format parade.
Ruiz-Corralejo said the group worked with Soledad Police Department to get approval to proceed with safe parade plans.
“I am so thankful that we got to do the parade,” she said. “Our children, teens and community needed that entertainment, distraction and spirit of togetherness.”