The Candlelight parade began 41 years ago as a daytime parade, but 10 years later the organizers felt the parade looked much better at night. The floats were beautifully lit with Christmas lights so the organizers kept it as a night parade, even today, 31 years later.
The parade attracts approximately 14,000 spectators annually, and contains around 70 floats that range from school marching bands to businesses and non-profit organizations. It is the biggest, most well attended night time parade in all of B.C.
Volunteers from The Fraser Valley Radio Operators Club and The Mission Optimist Club help organize the parade which is made possible by the Mission Chamber of Commerce.
This year Mission’s famous Candlelight parade was special. It was the first time in recent memory where the weather was warmer, and without any rain or snow. The wind was strong, but most people managed to enjoy the entire 1-hour parade, without leaving early due to weather complications. The full moon was a nice added touch of beauty in the clear night sky.
Highlights of the parade included, beautiful floats, flamboyant marching bands, lovely vocal performances, dancers, a lot of great giveaways, classic cars, fire trucks and police vehicles.
All floats were illuminated with thousands of lights that impressed the audience in the dark. The most well lit of the parade was Bay-view Auto Towing who put well over 5,000 blue lights all over their truck. They won first prize in the commercial category.
The marching bands were fantastic this year. They played all the traditional favorites from Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer to Hark the Herald Angles Sing. Always impressive is the Screaming Eagles band from MEI from Abbotsford who took first place in the Marching Battalion category.
Dancing their way down 1st Avenue was the Stave Lake Scottish Dancers, always a fantastic addition to liven the spirits of parade goers. There were also bagpipes, mini and large horses, the West Heights Scouts carrying flags, search and rescue boats and fire trucks.
Making their way from TV and movies to the parade route was Elmo of Sesame Street, Angry Birds, the Grinch, Frosty The Snowman, and Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen.
The parade also contained a lot of free giveaways including traditional candy canes, but new this year was hot chocolate in a bag. (to make when you got home.)
May the New Year bring you and your family great peace, love, joy and laughter.
As an aside and 2014 recap, this has been a fantastic year for me, I graduated UFV with a BFA, got to work with Grumpy Cat on her first film ever (Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever!) and got to hang out with Sarah McLachlan on stage in front of thousands.
I also began writing and working for SelfAdvocate.net which has been a true blessing. At heart “self – advocacy” is about speaking up for what you know is right, and through words, I can describe diverse community events and why they give our lives importance and meaning.
All of us here at SelfAdvocatenet.com wish everyone in the Self Advocacy Community a wonderful, happy, healthy, and very Merry Christmas!
Have a Happy New Year too!
(Santa) Jeff Stackhouse