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Parade of Lights sparks the holiday spirit tonight in downtown Cortez

More than 60 floats participated in the Parade of Lights in Cortez in 2021. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
A Family First Christmas is the theme

The spirit of the holidays will shine on Main Street Cortez tonight for the annual Parade of Lights sponsored by the 4 Corners Board of Realtors the past 33 years.

The theme this year is a Family First Christmas, and the grand marshal will be the Piñon Project.

Judges this year are representatives of longtime families in Montezuma and Dolores counties. They are Joyce Humiston, Terry Cox, Jerry Cohoe, Kinsey Ertel and Wes Wilson.

The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. and travels east from Maple and Main streets in the westbound lane to Park Street.

No parking will be allowed on the north side of Main Street, to accommodate the large number of entries and for the safety of the public.

The parade is a Cortez tradition and gets people in the mood for the holidays, said Terry McCabe, chairwoman of the 4 Corners Board of Realtors Parade of Lights.

“Everyone gathers downtown, it’s festive, and the floats are always impressive,” she said.

Participation remains strong. Last year, there were 65 floats, double from 2020.

Categories for floats are “commercial,” “nonprofit” and “other.” The latter is typically composed of groups, churches and schools.

Cash prizes are awarded for first, second and third places in each category.

Many businesses put together festive floats for the Parade of Lights in Cortez. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Santa's helpers got to work during the Parade of Lights in Cortez last year. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

The judges’ table will be set up at Market and Main streets to evaluate each float.

Floats will be judged on the criteria of music and lights, creativity, theme development and workmanship.

The key to a good float is dedication, time to build it, team effort and lots of lights, McCabe said. A good generator will keep the lights glowing, she said.

Funding from the event comes from dues paid by local real estate agents to the 4 Corners Board of Realtors. Cortez Retail Enhancement Association assists with promoting the event.

The parade is an opportunity for businesses to put together a float and showcase their business, McCabe said.

“It is a great way to get your name out there for very little expense,” she said. “We encourage all downtown businesses to stay open late the night of the parade. There will be thousands of people out, and many will be looking to get some Christmas shopping in.”

Mesa Media Productions will livestream the event on their Facebook page.