Parade of Lights: everything but snow

By Don Benjamin

According to Kami Collins, executive director of the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce, the crowd at this year's Parade of Lights was the largest in years. The theme of the Saturday event was "All-American Christmas" and it got underway before nightfall with a concert of holiday tunes performed by the Cedaredge Community Band and a dinner provided by the Cedaredge Community United Methodist Church. Downtown businesses were open for local shopping and town officials served hot drinks and treats.

As the sun set, a full moon shone down and hundreds of spectators assembled along a five-block stretch of Main Street. At 6 p.m. the parade began featuring community floats, horses, shelter pets, and the Cedaredge High School Marching Band.

A float full of enthusiastic youngsters from Cub Scout Pack 482 earned the Judge's Choice Award and the parade ended with a bang when decorated fire engines and other first-responder vehicles filled downtown with flashing lights and sirens. As the parade drew to a close, children and families lined up to meet Santa Claus.

Everyone seemed to agree it was one of the finest pre-holiday events in recent memory. The only thing missing was snow. Already November 2017 has entered the Colorado weather record books as one of the warmest and driest in history. And so far, December seems to be following suit. As for a white Christmas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has issued predictions for two of its regional weather stations. According to NOAA projections, Paonia has a 53 percent chance of having one inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas Day and an 18 percent chance of snow falling that day. The outlook for Grand Junction is a 23-27 percent chance of snow on the ground and a 12-16 percent chance of snow falling.