Holiday parade route changed due to construction

Holiday+parade+route+changed+due+to+construction

Lorain Watters, Assistant News Editor

The Celebration of Lights—an annual event where the public is invited to a holiday parade, a fireworks display and the official lighting of the Christmas lights—has been moved to Cleveland Square Park, 510 Santa Fe St., due to the ongoing construction at San Jacinto Plaza.

The Celebration of Lights will begin at approximately 4 p.m. Dec. 7 and is sponsored by evolve Federal Credit Union.

Cleveland Square Park is smaller than San Jacinto Plaza, which means that there will be fewer lights and a smaller parade.

“There were less entries allowed this year because of construction and the street closures that have resulted because of it (Mills and Campbell Street),” said Brenda Romero, special events coordinator for the city of El Paso. “Last year we had 68 and this year we will only have 55.”

The parade route will start at Texas Avenue and North Ochoa Street, continuing onto Myrtle Avenue and going down San Antonio Avenue, taking a right on Mesa Street, a right on Main Street, another right on Kansas Street and stopping on Texas Avenue.

The U.S. Army’s First Armored Division Band will play at 4:30 p.m. and at 5 p.m. the St. Anthony’s Seminary Franciscanos Choir will perform. The celebration will also feature Fernanda Garcia, 8, of Candlelighters of El Paso, who will flip the power switch to turn on the lights with Mayor Oscar Leeser at 5:30 p.m.

The parade will begin at 5:55 p.m. after the lighting ceremony.

“Street closures will start at 4 p.m., so anyone who wants to go should get there early before traffic starts to build up,” Romero said.

In order to make up for fewer Christmas lights, more ornaments will be placed around the park, Romero said.

Paola Vela, sophomore microbiology major, has attended the parade and Christmas light celebration in previous years with her family.

“The tree was my favorite part and the focal point for the Christmas lights,” Vela said. “There’s a lot of people who enjoy looking at the lights and the fact that there is construction would likely make people visit Cleveland Park to avoid construction detours.”

The Christmas lights and parade did not make an impression on Hector Villalobos, junior music major, when he visited them as a child and he said he does not plan on attending the celebration.

“I thought it was nice seeing the big tree when it was there, but I would only go if a group of friends wanted to or if there was an event happening downtown that I was already attending and could stop on the way to the lights,” Villalobos said.

Romero said that the Christmas lights are in their final stages and will still be a great celebration for El Paso.

Parking lots will open for the public and will charge a $5 fee.

For more information about the event, parking or the parade route, visit home.elpasotexas.gov/parks/.

Lorain Watters may be reached at [email protected]