By Jennifer Zirbes
The chilly weather and shortening days are a reminder that the Christmas season is not far off. The long nights are a challenge for many people in the winter, including me. This must be the reason why lights have been such an important part of winter celebrations in cultures across the world. One of the things that make the darkness bearable for me is being surrounded by bright Christmas lights wherever I go. After the New Year has been rung in and all the lights are turned off, the winter just seems that much longer and colder.
It is not just the physical light that moves us though, it is the light of the spirit of the holidays. Though we ought to do this year round, we dedicate this time of year especially to showing our love for others through gifts and service. It is our spiritual light that makes Christmas time so special. The Light Parade is a fun and creative manifestation of the light that our community has in its heart, because we can all come together and share in a moment of celebration of the light of Christmas.
For those of you who have delighted in this event the past four years, please keep in mind that in order for all of us to continue to enjoy watching the parade, there must be people who are willing to put forth the effort of submitting the entries. In fact, while there have been more and more people watching the parade every year, there have also been fewer and fewer entries (albeit the entries have gotten better and better every year as well). Without a certain number of entries this year, the parade won't be able to continue next year. WE NEED YOU TO KEEP THIS FUN EVENT ALIVE! The parade cannot exist without the wonderful people who contribute to it. They bring a moment of joy to our lives to open the Christmas season, and you are invited to be a part of that.
If you still need to be convinced to participate, there are many reasons. First, as always there are many great prizes that consist of cash, gift certificates, and other donations from local businesses. Prize categories are: Grand Prize, First, Second, and Third prizes, and Honorable Mentions; With so many prizes, your odds of winning are excellent!
No time, you say? Make it a family/ward/business/club/whatever afternoon project. Many hands make light work, and this is a fun project that you will all remember for years to come because it will be something you did together. Some families in our town have already made it one of their family traditions. So get together, eat some holiday goodies, and blast some Christmas tunes while you turn the gathering into a party!
No money, you say? Pool your resources. Most people own or know somebody who owns everything you will probably need, and generally there is no need to spend more than $10-$20 as long as you already have strings of Christmas lights, a neighbor with a generator, and a brother with a trailer, and a friend with a cool unique prop. In fact, take it as a challenge to see how much you can do with what you already have and not spend a dime. Chances are that by finding a creative way to use that stuff that is just hanging around your house and maybe spending $3 on some extra duct tape will earn you some great prizes, because people are going to love it! Those same spectators are the ones that will vote to decide on their favorite entries and who wins the prizes.
The only entry requirement is to use lights in some way. A vehicle is not even necessary. Just make sure to use creative illumination and you can't go wrong! Inform the parade committee as soon as you can that you intend to participate and they will give you a number that must be clearly illuminated. In order for the spectators to vote for you, they must be able to see your number. The theme for this year's parade is "Light up the World." Keep in mind that due to darkness and unforeseeable road conditions, throwing or handing out candy or other items from the vehicle is prohibited. If you would like to hand out something to the crowd, please do so prior to the parade or have someone walking along the curb as they hand out the item. While building and riding your float please keep your safety and the safety of the spectators as the highest priority. Please inform the parade committee of your intention to enter as soon as possible; however, any late entry will be accepted. The registration form can be found on Nephi City's Website, Nephi.utah.gov or at the city office at 21 East 100 North. Return the completed form to the city office or to a member of the parade committee: Debbie, Amy, and Jenny Zirbes; Neils and Judy Jensen; Wayne and Connie Jarrett; and Carla Brooks. If you have any questions or would like to submit an entry, please call Debbie Zirbes at 623-5313 or 623-3433.
So remember, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 24, 2012, the parade will begin at 6:15 p.m. after the lights are turned on at the Old Mill Park. Parade participants must register on the corner of 300 South and 100 East by the church, and be in place and ready to roll no later than 5:45. The parade committee will once again be handing out free glow sticks to the spectators along Main Street, so make sure all the kids get one! Also, make sure to vote for your favorite entries! Ballots will be collected in the Nephi City Park where there will be free hot chocolate and cookies donated by the Nephi Lions, Kiwanis Clubs and Nephi Chamber of Commerce, (and a last look at the beautiful floats). You can also drop off the ballots in the Nephi City utilities drop box.
Take the challenge of entering the parade and you will be surprised about how much fun you will have and the pride you will feel when your shining holiday creation takes center stage all through Main Street. And who knows, you just may be the next Grand Prize winner!