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Annual light parade prepares to dazzle

By: Bridget Jones Journal Staff Writer
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Holiday cheer comes on wheels this weekend. The annual Auburn Festival of Lights parade starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Community members can come out to the streets of Auburn to see more than 100 groups showing off their entries. Amber Ferreira of Don Robinson Sand & Gravel, Inc. said her company’s float really celebrates its loyal community customers. The float, which is built upon a 1946 flatbed truck, is titled, “A Good Old Boys’ Christmas.” “Some of our customers are 80 (years old) and they’ve been customers since the very beginning,” Ferreira said. “That’s how our company survives. (Our participation in the festival) is kind of like a thank you.” Michelle Talbott, social services director for the Auburn Salvation Army, said the Army is extremely excited about its float entry, because its vehicle is a newly refurbished 1985 canteen that is used to provide aid in times of disaster. “We’re going to dress it up, and we’re going to be marching,” Talbott said. “It’s a great way to expose the Army to the community.” Talbott said she hopes the Festival of Lights parade and other events will educate the community about the canteen, which has the ability to feed 500 people in times of need. Mindy Danovaro, executive director of Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation, said the foundation’s float will be a gingerbread hospital complete with Hansel, Gretal and other characters from the fairy tale. It will also include gingerbread doctors, patients and other healthcare providers. The float’s basic message is “Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital has the right ingredients to provide excellent care.” Danovaro said the foundation’s participation in the festival helps it feel connected to the local community. “Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital has a float every year, because we feel we’re such an integral part of the community,” Danovaro said. “And the community is such an integral part of what we do that we couldn’t imagine the holiday season without entering a float.” Sue Thompson of Hometown Realty, whose main float has a “Polar Express” theme, said the participation in the Festival of Lights promotes a sense of tight-knit community. She said the greatest reactions during the parade come from young children. “The thing about the parade that’s the coolest thing is the kids on the street,” Thompson said. “Watching their faces when that ‘Polar Express’ song comes on – the thrill of the kids is the big thing.”