default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Parade of Lights brightens downtown Lodi

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2002 10:00 pm

Millions of lights shone and bubbles glistened as the Parade of Lights made its way through downtown Lodi for the 10th year in a row Thursday night.

The parade moved slowly down the streets as thousands of people cheered for more than 80 floats, each one lit with this year's "Joy to the World" theme.

"It's great, and it gets better every year," said Lodi resident Janet Thompson.

Thompson has watched the parade every year since it first started, and she's seen it grow into what lasted for an hour and a half this year.

"It used to be a lot of little boy scouts carrying flashlights," she said with a laugh.

The parade began promptly at 6:17 p.m., following the annual San Joaquin Hospice tree lighting at City Hall.

"Hi, everybody; how about it? Merry Christmas!" said Master of Ceremonies Stan Atkinson, a former Sacramento TV news anchor, as the tree lighting ceremony began.

Atkinson told everyone to shake hands or hug the person next to them, then jokingly asked one man, "Hey, was that your wife?"

The crowd cheered for him, and then grew more serious when the huge tree was lit. Each light on the tree represents a person, explained Hospice Executive Director Barbara Tognoli.

"People make a donation to light a light in honor of a loved one, living or not," she said.

The organization lights three such trees in the county and raised $60,000 for the organization last year, Tognoli said.

The crowd then moved toward Church and School streets in preparation for the parade. Some stood on the street corners and ate freshly-cooked Lockeford sausages, while others came prepared with folding chairs.

Acampo resident Kari Ianni and her family parked at Hutchins Street Square and walked to the corner of Church and Pine streets, where a friend had staked out a spot for them earlier in the day.

"It's not too cold out, so we don't mind walking," she said.

Her daughter, 8-year-old Lauren Ianni, was wearing felt reindeer antlers on her head and eagerly waiting for the Coca-Cola truck and the Budweiser Clydesdale horses. She wasn't the only impatient one.

"The parade is great, but I'm looking forward to the Clydesdales," said Lodi resident Betty Abel.

This was Abel's second year at the parade, and she now plans to attend it every year.

The eight Budweiser horses did not disappoint Abel, and they drew some of the loudest cheers as they pranced in perfect rhythm.

Other floats that brought cheers were the ones handing out candy, and 4-year-old River Meeker loved petting dogs from the animal shelter.

A glowing, inflatable snowman in the back of a large garbage truck drew laughter, while baton twirlers wielding burning batons made the crowds back away from the flames.

Overall, most people seemed to think the parade was even more impressive than last year, and that it continues to get bigger and better with each year.

Police saw only a few minor arguments regarding seating, but had no other problems, Lodi Police Lt. Chet Somera said.

"It's wonderful; people spent millions of dollars for all these lights," exclaimed 11-year-old Amanda Soltaro as she and her friend reached for candy thrown from a float.

Comments about this story? Send mail to the News-Sentinel newsroom.


To subscribe to the Lodi News-Sentinel, fill out our online form or call our Subscriber Services Department at (209) 333-1400.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Reader Survey 2015


Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists