This past weekend we decided it was time to check out our first local seasonal event: The Christmas Tractor Parade. This parade I have been told is the biggest of the year and at least a thousand people bundled in their warm clothes line up along the parade route.
The main route goes through old downtown Centralia. Fortunately we live only blocks from there. So Luke and I put on our warmer clothes and walked downtown. There we met some family friends, some of their kids, and nephews and found our spot along the brick street.
You may wonder: what makes a Christmas parade a tractor parade? Well most of the lighted floats were either pulled by tractors, pulling tractors, carrying tractors, or had tractor themed decorations on them. We saw a motorcycle dressed up in cardboard to look like a tractor, several holiday blow up santa-riding tractors, the parade queen sat on the bucket of a tractor, and we saw a lumber tractor on a semi truck bed decorated with full limbs of fallen timber.
We were told the entry fee is minimal so on average there are 80 or more float entries! Floats are judged for different categories before the parade begins at 6pm. Each tractor or float was creatively decorated and lit; advertising their organization, church, farmers market, or store. Many had music, bubbles, or snow machines.
What was most suprising to me was how interactive the parade was. Young people dressed as angels, elves, snowmen, reindeer and more walked alongside each float with buckets. When they saw children, they would pass out candy, toys, stickers, coupons and information about their organization.
The family we came with were prepared with plastic grocery bags. The kids were given so many goodies they could fill up their stockings! Eventually we were given a bag too as the parents tried to get rid of some of the sugar heading home with them. When we got home we opened our bag to find some really amazing treats (not only candy canes and dum dum lollipops).
Other than floats the local high school band played, motorcycle groups wove up and down the street passing out candy, and a local equestrian team came through with very disciplined horses who were unfazed by the semi truck horns, tractor engines, or the lights they were decorated in.
Overall it was a lively and inviting Christmas parade. It was well attended too in-spite of the rain and cool temperatures. Let’s just say it was a great first local outing and we will probably go again another year.