Annual Parade of Lights kicked off the holiday season Saturday

By Linda Trest, Staff Writer
Posted 12/11/19

For the seventh year, Gerald’s Main Street was lit up with a Christmas Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Gerald-Rosebud Fire Department spent the afternoon fighting multiple brush fires …

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Annual Parade of Lights kicked off the holiday season Saturday

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For the seventh year, Gerald’s Main Street was lit up with a Christmas Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Gerald-Rosebud Fire Department spent the afternoon fighting multiple brush fires just east of town on Shotwell Road. They still managed to enter several pieces of equipment in the parade. That included a crowd favorite, Old Whitey, the department’s first fire truck. Santa and Mrs. Claus were perched atop the vintage white truck to lead the parade to its destination at Legion Park.

The Boy Scouts carried the flags near the head of the parade.

The Gerald Area Library on Main Street stayed open that afternoon to allow parade watchers a warm place to wait for the parade to begin.

The weather was so warm, that was hardly necessary, but the large crowd came in anyway and the library sold out of the cookies and hot chocolate it offered.

Following the parade, people rushed to the historic Rock Island Depot in Legion Park where Santa and his wife were waiting to visit with the children. The line to see Santa snaked past piles of Christmas books for the kids to choose, courtesy of the library. They passed a winter wonderland display on their way to free cookies and hot chocolate provided by Chamber volunteers.

The visitors then passed through the old depot office where once upon a time, train traffic was directed, train tickets were sold and invoices were prepared. Some of the old equipment is still on display.

Finally, the line ended in old waiting room of the depot, where Santa and were waiting.

The Gerald Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event. This year they opted to have a food court outside the Depot.

Under the pavilion, the Chamber sold smoked turkey legs, hot dogs and s’mores kits. The Knights of Columbus sold funnel cakes and the Historical Society sold cold drinks. The Gerald Lions Club brought their food truck and sold chili and Frito pies.

Nearly all the food had been sold before the event ended.

The Gerald Elementary School Choir, jazzed from winning second place honors for their parade float, entertained the crowd with holiday music.

A large bonfire fascinated the kids and drew the adults to its warmth as they visited. Hot dogs were roasted and marshmallows were toasted over the open flames.

Mild weather for much of the week before, allowed Chamber members to lavishly decorate both the outside of the Depot and the pavilion.

The mild weather was certainly a contributing factor to the large crowd and brisk sales.

While the Chamber may have hosted the event, it was the cooperation of so many other organizations that made it a memorable evening.

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