The streets of Downtown will be aglow with the holiday spirit and thousands of twinkling lights on Thursday, as the 13th Annual Downtown Lodi Parade of Lights once again sets the night alight.
As people prepare their floats for the night's festivities, 50,000 people are expected to attend the annual event.
Seventy-two floats are entered in the parade so far, and event coordinator Jaime Watts, with the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership, expects another five or six late entries. There will also be marching bands to fill the night air with a cacophony of sounds.
"I've gotten calls from the Bay Area to the foothills. People have called from Marysville and Yuba City asking for directions," Watts said.
Last year's float winner, Lodi Motorcycle Club, will be showing off their stuff again for Thursday's procession. They have been working since last Saturday to complete their entry with high hopes for the outcome.
"I expect to win it again," said club president Tony Souza with a chuckle. This year, 10 to 15 club members have been working on the float along with their wives, children and grandchildren, and Souza says they will be finished by Wednesday evening. The float, which is a 59-foot trailer pulled by a 1950s Mack truck, will, like last year's, have a motorcycle theme.
Watts said the overall theme for this year's Parade of Lights will be "Songs of the Season," and each float will cover a different holiday tune.
During past parades, weather has been less than hospitable with rain pelting onlookers, but this year there isn't any rain in the forecast, and temperatures should be in the low 60- to high 50-degree range. Still, Watts urges attendees to bundle up.
All Seasons Carriage in Acampo will be transporting the Grand Marshals for the parade, "Grandpa" Don and "Grandma" Jeanne Phillips of Phillips Farms. The judges will be Mayor JoAnne Mounce, Fire Marshall Kevin Donnelly and his wife Cathy and Bob and Pam Bechill.
Rounding out the Parade of Lights will be Santa Claus, as he rides on top of a Lodi Fire Department fire truck.
"In these hard times, it's so important that we come together as a community to display our home town pride," Watts said. "I feel it's going to be the best parade yet."
Holiday events at a glanceDowntown Lodi Parade of Lights
When: 6:17 p.m. Thursday
Where: Throughout Downtown Lodi
Cowboy Christmas - annual Christmas Tree lighting,
caroling, carriage rides and bicycle raffle
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: 19000 Highway 88 (Wells Fargo parking lot), Lockeford
Lighting of the Night Christmas Parade
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Throughout Galt
Festival of Trees
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: San Joaquin County Historical Museum, 11793 N. Micke Grove Road.
Cost: Admission is $8 for adults, $1 for children ages 2 to 10 and free for 2 and under. $5 for parking.
Delta Reflections - lighted boat parade
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Weber Point Event Center, 221 N. Center St., Stockton
- News-Sentinel staff