Candy Cane Lane Parade in Visalia

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- With thousands of people watching, more than 100 (121 to be exact) participants put on a show for the 71st annual Candy Cane Lane Parade in downtown Visalia.

This year's theme was a Storybook Christmas.

"Every child everywhere has story books and I thought it would be interesting to see how many different ideas that people could come up with for their floats to do storybooks," said Lara Shewman, of Downtown Visalians, which organizes the event.

"Everybody's float is really cool," said Nancy Rangel. "I mean they probably really work hard for it so I have to say like everybody's is really good."

Main Street sidewalks were packed, not just with spectators, but vendors as well as the peacekeepers. Police made sure the family-fun event stayed that way.

"Every law enforcement officer that works in Visalia is supposed to be working this parade," Shewman said. "That includes probation, that includes the volunteers, everybody. This is a huge thing and nobody is allowed to take a day off."

Organizers say the detailed planning for this year's parade began six months ago. But it seems that preparation paid off.
Everyone we spoke with was impressed with the two-hour long event.

We spoke with a family in attendance from Woodlake, and they didn't even have to leave their truck to watch the parade. Yolanda Ortiz says they get the same spot every year, and have been coming for at least a decade.

"It kicks off Christmas, the Christmas decorations and the Christmas spirit," Ortiz said.

Parade organizers were hopeful that the rain would hold off and it did. There were, however, some artificial snow flurries.

An hour-long parade special will air on ABC30 Action News on Sunday December 11th at 7 p.m.

2016 Award Winners

Sweepstakes Award $500: Best decorated float in the theme of the parade - R&G Paint and Body

Holiday Spirit Award $200: Best decorated float in the Christmas theme - Elbow Creek 4-H

Judges Award $100: Best Float Under 20' in length - office of the District Attorney

Biblical Award $100: Best decorated float in the biblical theme - The Journey Church

Downtown Visalians Marching Award $100: Porterville Twirlerettes
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