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Big crowd gathers in Santa Maria for the Parade of Lights

As they do every year, big crowds gathered along Broadway in Santa Maria Saturday evening for the annual Parade of Lights.

Organizers expect the crowds to reach well over 20,000. There were 105 entries in this years parade, with more than 3000 people participating.

“It’s a big event in this town and its a lot of fun,” says Mike Gibson, the parades organizer for the past 22 years. “I love seeing all the faces on the kids as floats go by, they love the lights, and get all excited.

200 volunteers from the Rotary Club and across town join in to help make the parade happen. Planning begins every year in August.

“Lights bring out a lot in people,” says Cletus McDonald, a Veterans United member who has been in the parade for six years. “People just love the lights around Christmas time.”

“It starts your holiday off,” says Katey Eckenrode. “You always know its going to be during that first weekend in December.”

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