LAS CRUCES – The community came together the evening before the Fourth of July for the city’s annual Electric Light Parade.
Held every year after sunset on July 3, this year’s parade, organized by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, did not disappoint.
More than 40 parade entries started at Apodaca Park, traveled south on Solano Drive, east on Hadley Avenue and ending at Maag Softball Complex, with residents lining the sidewalks cheering for their favorite floats.
Parade Grand Marshal Daniel Munoz was on the first float for this year’s parade, which was themed Patriotic Spirit and American Dreams.
“It’s really about patriotism and bringing the community together,” Crystal Copper, recreation supervisor of Parks and Recreation, said.
Copper said more than a thousand people were either participants on floats or involved in organizing the parade.
Three judges, near the Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center, watched floats pass by, assigning scores on such criteria as originality, theme, and overall awesomeness, Copper said.
First-, second- and third-place winners in the commercial and non-commercial categories, as well as an overall grand prize, would be announced before the city’s Fourth of July concert and Fireworks show on July 4.
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Hernandez Plumbing Heating and Cooling has participated in the Electric Light Parade for nine years and have won the commercial category eight of those years, including last year’s contest.
Owner Nick Hernandez and his nephew Joseph Hernandez said they worked on the float, along with friends and family, for a month and helped intent on reclaiming their first place title.
“We enjoy it, and it’s good memories, good fun, and it’s a lot of hard work but it pays off at the end to see the crowd and the kids along the side of the road,” Joseph said.
Let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy floats:
Mrandez Plumbing Heating and Cooling: Last year’s commercial winner was again a treat in 2022. Covered in red, white, and blue LED lights, this huge float really grabbed our attention. Multiple flags decorated the float platform and a DJ kept the energy high and the Las Cruces crowd cheering.
Little Playmates: This float wasn’t playing around. Many floats displayed patriotism with a Statue of Liberty, but only the daycare center’s float had a Lady Liberty that smiled and waved at the crowd. Atop the float, a person donned her best green robes, glowing in the multiple white and yellow lights on the platform.
Southwest Mopar Society “Wonder Woman”: Gloria Duran Gardner said she’s been a fan of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman since she was a kid. She considered the comic book character inspiring and patriotic, which is why her car was embellished with myriad Wonder Woman and American flag motifs. Gardner also dressed up as the character to complete the look.
Stitched: This business opened in April specializing in Letterman jackets and trophies, so this was its first year competing. The cute float showcased various sports balls surrounding a big trophy with jackets decorating the sides.
The Salvation Army: Filled with lights and a lot of spirit, this float was a stunner. Not only were the decorations eye catching, but the Salvation Army float had the crowd signing along throughout the parade. A bass and drum player on each end of the float made up for a great show.
Annya Loya is a general assignment reporter and can be reached at [email protected] or @annyaloya on Twitter.