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Holiday parades light up downtown
Santa Pub Crawl to benefit Salvation Army
The 34th Annual Turlock Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Turlock Firefighters Local and the Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7. The parades theme this year is a California Christmas. - photo by 209 file photo

Christmas in Turlock and Hilmar is all about parades. For Turlock disregard culture is being celebrated in this year's parade, while the Hilmar event will highlight the area's agricultural roots.

The 34th Annual Turlock Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Turlock Firefighters Local and the Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau, will be held at 6:30 p.m.  Dec. 7. The parade’s theme this year is a “California Christmas."

Holiday music and local vendors will begin the festival at 4 p.m. in downtown Turlock. Local businesses, organizations, and families will then parade in a whirlwind of dazzling lights starting at Canal Drive and traveling down historic Main Street.

“We will have horse carriage rides, free entertainment, lots of vendors; we hope we are delivering a traditional event that is fun for everyone,” said Turlock Downtown Property Owners' director Dana McGarry.

The holiday happenings will continue in Turlock on Dec. 8 with the 2nd Annual Santa Pub Crawl. This event, which benefits The Salvation Army Turlock Community Center, begins at 11:30 a.m. with stops at Dust Bowl Brewing Company, Red Brick Cafe, Bistro 234, The Vintage Lounge, El Jardin, Jura's Pizza Parlor and Staley's. Tickets are priced at $20 apiece, and are available at The Vintage Lounge; drinks costing extra. Ticket holders will be provided food at each stop. There will also be a raffle and photo both available.

 “We are trying to think of different ways to fundraise; something to include everyone. We have a variety of age groups from 21 year olds to my own parents and their friends. We are trying new ways to raise money and have fun. This town never disappoints. Turlock always provides support. This is a good cause for the community, and its businesses,” said the Pub Crawl's co-director and volunteer Kristin Bettencourt.

Also on Dec. 8 will be the Hilmar Holiday Farmers' 6th Annual Parade of Lights Festival, beginning at 5:55 p.m. sharp. The event is sponsored by local companies, organizations, and churches and features illuminated tractors, wagons, and various vehicles.  The event is designed to promote fundraising for local Booster clubs, local churches, and allow businesses to show their community pride with jovial spirit.

“This is a community event. We try to get everyone involved. Everyone must have lights on their floats, but sometimes we know that’s hard to do. The Cub Scouts did candles. With more volunteers, we are able to have a better time. As long as we focus on safety measures, this year should be interesting and fun,” said event director Richard Stargis.

The residential parade passes roughly 160 homes, so obtaining a seat in the suburban area is key. The neighborly tidings also turn the residential streets into an outdoor Christmas party that takes place throughout the town.

— BROOKE BORBA / 209 reporter