A "Storybook Christmas" arrived in Farmington on Tuesday - kicking off the holiday season into high gear.

Sponsored by Krekeler Jewelers and hosted by the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, this year’s Christmas parade and its “Storybook Christmas” theme lent to an evening of nostalgia and holiday cheer for those who waited for the evening to unfold.

At the start of the parade, the Air Force Junior ROTC led the Black Knight Marching Band and the rest of the entries down Columbia Street, playing a medley of Christmas carols familiar to both young and old.

“This is definitely a highlight for us even if it is 36 degrees,” said Elliot Naes, the director of bands. “We are 100 percent full of Christmas spirit. Except for basketball games, this is the last time the band will play, so it’s a nice way to end the season.”

For many residents, the parade has become a part of their family Christmas tradition.

“We come to every parade in Farmington,” said Sandra Smith. “We moved to Farmington from Hillsboro three years ago, but our son lives down here and we have been coming to this parade for a long time.”

This year there was a new entry in the parade. Besides working behind the scenes, the Farmington Parks and Recreation team joined the festivities and entered a float into the parade.

“This year was even more fun than last year,” said Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway. “We actually participated in the parade this year and our float took Best in Show. Our staff, as always, did an excellent job getting the float ready and Winter Wonderland ready. We couldn’t be happier this evening.”

Even though this year’s parade featured a real reindeer, elves of all sizes and an occasional Mr. Grinch, children of all ages whistled and cheered as Santa and Mrs. Claus made a dramatic entrance on top of a Farmington fire truck, decked out in row after row of Christmas lights and lighted reindeer.

As Santa and Mrs. Claus came down from their perch on the fire truck, children could hardly contain their enthusiasm knowing they were moments away from visiting with Santa and giving him their list of goodies for him to bring.

The Black Knight Marching Band lined Columbia Street and regaled the crowd with holiday tunes as they gathered in front of Long Memorial Hall. The band entertained the audience as Santa and Mrs. Claus climbed the steps of Long Memorial Hall and officially opened Winter Wonderland.

Trying to stay on Santa’s good list, the city gives St. Nick temporary lodging during the holiday season so local children can pay him a visit every evening and also view the model trains.

Before the doors to Winter Wonderland were officially opened, Laura Raymer, director of operations and member engagement for the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, announced the winner of the float competition.

The top two equestrian floats went to Earth’s End and Belgrade State Bank; taking first place in the walking division was Black Knight Marching Band, while Hefner Furniture took first prize for motorized units.

For this year’s float competition, first place went to Great Mines with Bryant Restoration a close second.

The final award was presented to Farmington Parks and Recreation for Best in Show.

Winter Wonderland is open weeknights, Monday through Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 22. For any questions, contact the Farmington Civic Center at 756-0900.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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