CALEXICO — The morning sun warmed the early birds lining up for the Calexico Christmas parade on Dec. 14 as trucks pulling the largest and most intricate floats carefully maneuvered to the parade start at Second Street and Blair Avenue.
Grinch-like bumpy streets
knocked off an ornament or two, but all the floats reached their destination
relatively intact, ready for the show.
One of the earliest participants to line up was the Calexico Rotary club. In an attempt to not lose any ornaments on the way to the parade, the members of the club decorated their creation once they were lined up and ready to go.
Two-year club president
Nelson Baxley carefully fitted the float with its adornments.
“We’ve been attending the
parade for around 10 years,” revealed Baxley. “We brought the Rotary trailer
out of storage, filled out the application and started recruiting volunteers
from high schools and the college through the Rotarette and Interact clubs,
Noting the absence of the
young volunteers that early into the preparation, Baxley said, “Come on, the
kids get to sleep in a bit on a Saturday.”
Inmates Create Float
Another showy float took
the form of a giant gingerbread house, part of the Inmate Workers Program, led
by Cpl. Jose Garcia. The intricately designed float attracted onlookers even
before the event started.
“The inmates constructed
this float through the corrections program, and it took them approximately two
and a half months to complete,” said Garcia.
“We were so impressed
with the float we just had to use it for other parades around the (Imperial) Valley,”
he added, “The float actually made its debut at the Navy (Naval Air Facility El
Centro) parade a few weeks ago, and after this parade we’re heading over to
Imperial for their parade. So we’re definitely making good use of it.”
The parade start line was
in front of D’poly’s Mexican restaurant. As the morning progressed and the
final preparations for the floats were underway, spectators began to set up
their chairs and shades in preparation. The south side of Second St. saw the
most spectators, as buildings cast a cool shadow there.
A bit further down Blair,
half a block from the start, the U.S. Navy cadets practiced their marching
drills, displaying tightly coordinated movements in unison. As they took a
short break, the cadets gathered in the shade to rest.
“This is my third year as
a Navy cadet,” said high school student Alberto Mosqueda. “They’ve helped us
become better citizens, learn about nautical and land navigation, learn about
ships, and how to be part of a unit following orders.”
He added, “This isn’t my
first parade. We’re here to show what we got, to show how disciplined we are
and how good we march.”
Boxers Step Out of Ring
Another standout float
caught the attention of the spectators. It featured a full training station in
the back, complete with punching and speed bags. Young trainers stretched and
shadow boxed near the float.
“We represent Baja Boxing
Club here in Calexico,” said owner Raul Lau. “This is the fifth time we’ve
participated in this parade.”
He added, “We participate
in local and state competitions with our students and have even won some
championships” as he motioned to the display of trophies and belts set up in
the back of the float.
By 9:30 a.m. spectators had
showed up in droves, and all lined up to cheer for their favorite participants.
Some even deployed drones to get a better view of the proceedings, something
that the participants took note of as they waved and looked up to greet the