Salida began the countdown to Christmas Friday with one of city’s most festive nights of the year.

The festivities began with the annual Parade of Lights down F Street and, after lighting up Christmas Mountain USA, concluded with cookies and cocoa at Salida SteamPlant.

Right before the parade, however, some of the entries were still finishing their floats.

Colin Medved, one of The Next Eddy’s owners, said he was busy duct taping thin strips of LED lights to his fly pole so he could cast and catch his friends dressed like fish in the parade.

“We didn’t know if it would work; it came together about 30 seconds before we were rolling down the road,” Medved said. “We just thought it would be really cool to have.”

The duct tape held the lights on, and he was able to cast to four fishy friends, who took the bait about a dozen times during the parade. “It was definitely cool casting to them and having them running around and jumping up for it,” he said.

Medved also said they wanted to have a boat on their float since boating is such a big part of Salida’s culture.

“We’ve been here three years now and we haven’t seen anyone tow a boat down the street,” Medved said.

Their entry, with a fisherman casting from a boat floating on some waves, ended up winning the commercial category in their first time participating in the parade.

“It was super fun,” Medved said. “We want to keep doing it; we’re already talking about what we can do next year to up the ante.”

Salida Auto and Diesel, which had its own little parade of lighted vehicles, received an honorable mention in the same category.

For animal entries, Mountain Goat Lodge claimed first place. The goats pulled Santa’s sleigh, which was also blowing foamy snow up into the air to create a mini blizzard.

Salida Circus Outreach took first among the marching entries, with kids and adults flipping and balancing and juggling down the icy street.

The Salida Elks Lodge won among the float entries with its snowy Christmas scene.

The Salida Business Alliance put on the event. Monarch Mountain was its primary sponsor and also its grand marshal.

There were 26 entries and several other participants in the parade, whose theme was “Let it snow … let it snow.”

Spectators lined up along F Street to enjoy the show.

“It was big; standing on the boat looking down F Street, there was a ton of people,” Medved said. “Everyone was cheering and whooping and hollering.”

After the parade, Salida lit up Christmas Mountain USA and Holida Park as fireworks exploded in the sky.

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