Thousands line Visalia's Main Street for 73rd annual Candy Cane Lane Parade

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Every year, hundreds of people claim their spot on Visalia's Main Street, hours before the scheduled start time of the longest-running nighttime parade in the Central Valley-Candy Cane Lane.

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Candy Cane Lane Parade (1 of 4)

Thousands line Visalia's Main Street for 73rd annual Candy Cane Lane Parade

(NOTE: Parade plays in four parts)

At 5 p.m., Main Street shuts down.

Organizers say the parade takes months of planning, but the hard work doesn't stop until the show is over.

"Once the parade starts, we can then kind of take a sigh of relief, but not until Santa Claus goes down the route and makes the turn and then we're done," said Downtown Visalians' Steve Nelsen.

"To see all of the community come out, it's awesome," said Albert Cendejas.

Cendejas came to the 73rd annual Candy Cane Lane Parade with his family to cheer on his daughter Cassandra.

She's a freshman saxophone player for Dinuba High School's marching band.

"(She) absolutely loves it," he said. "She loves the participation of being in the band, but along with going through the whole parade thing."

Jose Romo and his family don't know anyone in the parade, but they've made it a family tradition.

This year, they arrived a little later than usual, but they made do by sitting on their car.

"We saw that it's crowded so we decided hey why don't we copy the guys over here and back up and get a little elevation so you guys can enjoy the show," Romo said.

And what a show it was.

More than 90 floats, bands, and dancers performed or waved their way down Main Street.

Making family members proud, spreading smiles to strangers, and helping the South Valley start the holiday season on a high note.

If you missed this year's parade, you can take pictures with Santa Claus or take a ride on a carriage in Downtown Visalia this Thursday.

On Saturday, the city's parks and rec department opens their ice rink at the Garden Street Plaza.
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