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It's the Ginger Man starring in the EC Christmas Parade

Updated: 5 days ago

The crowd watched and cheered parade entries along the three-mile parade route from Main Street for three hours, beginning at 9:00 a.m. over to 8th Street culminating at Bucklin Park on Aurora Drive. 

“It was an incredible parade with 140 entries,” said Matthew Cowie, one of nine announcers interspersed 3-4 city blocks along the route. Cowie, who represented the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, was closest to Brighton and 8th street. 

Among the entries were schools, churches, businesses, community organizations, military, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, gymnastics, sports clubs, and service organizations. A noticeable decoration was the use of inflatable gingerbread cookies and gingerbread houses. 

The following were the Entry Winners of the 2023 El Centro Christmas ParadePublic Service category: City of El Centro— Community Service; Business category: Prestige Dance; Religious category: First Christian Church; Youth category: Challenger Little League; and Sweepstakes winner: City of El Centro— Community Service. 

“It was nice to see the community come out and support this. Some people came as early as 6:00 a.m. to put out their chairs,” said Cowie, adding that the parade was spearheaded by the IVRCC and supported by Los Vigilantes and the City of El Centro. 

A family of eight placed their folding chairs on the East side of the 8th Street. The morning sun behind their back. The parade participants were well lit from their perspective. 

“We’ve been watching the parade these past three years. We love it,” said Erma Salazar, who came with her two daughters and five grandchildren. For snacks, they brought chips, donuts, water and coffee. 

“The children loved the parade. They’ve been good since arriving here. They were just in awe and loved the candies,” said Salazar, referring to the candies handed by parade participants. 

Her daughter, Jessica Salazar, was with them. She sat on the chair as she clutched her crutches. “I broke my knee. I’m still in pain.” But it did not deter her from watching the festivities. 

“I had to get out of the house to enjoy the parade with my kids,” said Jessica. “This was a family outing. God is good, and I enjoyed being with my family.” 

Nathan and Andrea Vasquez and their three children Noah, 4, Nicolas, 2, and one-year-old Maya, came to watch the parade. The three children fitted inside their folding wagon. A family friend, Antonio Velazco, was with them. They came to watch their nephews and nieces march in the parade. 

“My parents brought us here when we were little,” said Nathan, a practice he continued for over 25 years. But this time, he came with his wife and three young children. 

According to Nathan, his favorite entries of the parade were the Volunteers of America, Harding Elementary School, and Santa Claus. 

“The children were excited to watch the cars and receive candies,” said Andrea. The children also ate cookies given by one of the parade participants. 

“It was a nice parade. The weather was nice and we’re having a great time,” said Nathan Vasquez. 

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