Lights won’t be doused by rain

Local group plans variety of fun for float
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s holiday lights will shine Saturday, even if it rains. Steve Galyardt, parade chairman, announced Thursday that the parade would go ahead as planned. “Starting this year, the Festival of Lights Parade will be held as scheduled on Saturday Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. regardless of the weather,” Galyardt said. “This parade is too important to let the chance of showers dampen our official start of Auburn’s holiday season.” As of press time Thursday the National Weather Service was reporting a 20 to 30 percent chance of showers Saturday with nighttime low temperatures falling to 46 degrees. The Sugar Plump Fairies are one of 100 groups building a float for this year’s parade. Fran Haynes, founder of the nonprofit organization, said every year the group creates its float theme by making a play on the lyrics of a holiday song or idea. This year’s theme is “Visions of sugar plumps danced on their beds,” Haynes said. The float’s flatbed will portray a gigantic fairy bedroom with a gaudy bed, dressing table and aluminum Christmas tree. The float will include a vast array of colorful feathers, fabric and trinkets, including the famous leg lamp from the movie “A Christmas Story.” Haynes said the float is never pre-planned, and participants add their own unique touches. “I’m as surprised as anyone else,” she said. Beth Leydon, a fellow fairy, said she thinks the end result is always perfect. “The fun thing to me about the float … usually it’s like everybody just brings the content of their fairy closet,” Leydon said. “It’s always fabulous I think.” Haynes said two or three people will ride on the float, but about 25 more will walk along side, interacting with the children watching the parade. The float’s effect on those watching is one of the best parts about the fairies participation in the parade, Haynes said. “So many people just burst into child-like smiles,” she said. “It’s always been about laughter being the best medicine. We all come from this community, and it feels like a give-back to the kids.” The Sugar Plump Fairies have participated in the parade for the last 14 years, and served as its grand marshals in 1999. Robert Zaucha, a member of the Auburn Firefighters Association, said the group would be serving its Firehouse Chili in Central Square Saturday night. “We just like to get out there and talk to people,” Zaucha said. “It’s really important to get our name out and talk to community members, and just generate some money for our association. We have won a few awards for our chili, entering contests in the past.” The Placer High Sober Grad Night Committee is planning to sell pulled pork sandwiches, coffee and hot chocolate this year. Committee Chairwoman Chris Sands said she thinks the parade is a perfect way to gear up for the holidays. “It’s such a neat community event,” Sands said. “That’s what we love about it. I think this year, with the square all done, it’s going to be a neat thing. It gets you in the holiday spirit. Being cold, and having lights and the Christmas tree – it’s what kicks it off.” Lauri Kanngiesser, a member of the Placer High Music Boosters Club, said she hopes the group’s sale of glow sticks and hard warmers at the parade will help get the word out about the music program. “We like to be a part of (the parade), because that gives extra money to the music department, because they are under-funded all the time,” Kanngiesser said. Haynes said she likes the parade’s permanent theme of “The Light in a Child’s Eyes.” “I would say I thought that was a great idea, and in addition to the light in a child’s eyes, it’s the smile on a child’s face,” she said. Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------ Festival of Lights Parade, “The Light in a Child’s Eyes” What: Auburn’s traditional kick-off to the holiday season When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday Where: The parade starts at the intersection of Lincoln Way and Cherry Street and ends at the Gold Country Fairgrounds For information: Call the Auburn Chamber of Commerce at (530) 885-5616