By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
The myriad lights, the familiar holiday tunes and a community cheering in the streets for an annual tradition was a scene 9-year-old Jesi Smith had been asking about since she woke up Friday morning.
She bounced up and down in her father Rich Smith’s arms while she waited for the parade to come her way.
“She’s been bugging me since we got ready to go to school,” said Rich Smith, an employee of the Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative.
The Smiths were one of many families lined up along Second Street to watch the city’s annual Lighted Christmas Parade sponsored by the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.
People bobbed their heads, as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder to keep warm, to the Christmas carols that echoed from the vehicles in the parade.
Jesi snuggled in a fleece blanket with her 3-year-old brother Jace Smith until she could no longer be patient.
“I came to see the lights and get the candy,” said the soccer player.
But although she likes the fun activities that come with the holiday, Jesi said Christmas has a bigger meaning.
“I like that it’s Jesus’ birthday,” she said.
Paula Shipp, a stay-at-home mom from Portales, said the parade is one tradition her family does not miss.
“It actually give Portales something to do for once,” Shipp said.
Shipp also noted that because the parade is held downtown, the local small businesses benefit from the traffic on the streets, so she feels only good comes from the parade.
Her 10-year-old son Daniel Peterson said the parade is high up on his list of favorite holiday happenings but there is one activity he likes to do especially with mom.
“I like to make cookies and eat the cookies while I make them,” Daniel said.
Portales High School Choir member 16-year-old Tearah Abeyta labeled Friday a perfect night.
“I like just hanging with all my friends and doing the thing I love the most, which is singing,” said Abeyta, who has been singing in choir since she was in elementary school.
Abeyta’s favorite Christmas tune is “Carol of the Bells” but the aspiring pop singer said she’d love to sing music like that of Demi Lovato’s.
Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry said he received great feedback from community members about the parade despite glitches, including one of the floats falling apart.
But Terry said the mistakes were minor and couldn’t keep the overall spirit of the Christmas parade down.
“It wouldn’t be a small town if we didn’t have to overcome a few difficulties,” Terry said.