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Parade outshines rain
A severe rainstorm in Willows on Saturday didn't keep residents from venturing downtown for the annual Christmas Light Parade.
It also didn't keep jolly old St. Nick from hearing the wishes of dozens of children in the town square.
Although it was rumored by children that Santa Claus would arrive in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, the jolly old icon rolled through town in the back of a pickup truck, drenched from the top of his snowy white head to the tip of his black-booted toes.
The Willows Chamber of Commerce rang in the season with its two holiday events — the annual Christmas Craft Fair at St. Monica's Parish Hall, followed by the parade downtown.
After most of Saturday saw breezy, but clear skies, the rain hit just before 6 p.m. at the start of the parade.
The 200 hundred or more people who turned out for the event huddled under the eaves and awnings of the businesses in town, then quickly scattered to the Ark Christian Center for hot chocolate, hot dogs and nachos.
Others ventured to Yeti's for dinner and drinks or the historic Masonic Building, whose owner hosted the re-opening of the second floor "Willow Room," which was damaged in March by a vandal.
Patting her wet hair at the Ark Center, 6-year-old Maria Cazares said she didn't care that it rained on the festivities.
"The parade was nice anyway," she said.
Satisfied with Ark's warm offerings, Cazares said she didn't need to venture back outside to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas because she had already told her family.
"I want a kitten," she said. "That is what I want the most."
Downtown business owner Carissa Cokay and boyfriend Jake Thuemler said a little rain never hurts the parade.
Although Thuemler has watched the annual parade most of his life, it was only the third event for Cokay, and the second time it rained.
"We enjoy the lights anyway, and it's a way to celebrate the season," she said.
Saturday's festivities got underway earlier in the day at St. Monica's, where the Chamber hosted the annual craft fair.
Vendors said they were grateful the rain stayed away for the show.
"We had quite a few people come through," said Colusa photographer Sue Graue, who showed her work for the first time with the Westside Photo Group, a Glenn County photography club founded by Ed Schnurbusch.
Former Willows High School wood shop teacher David Hirsch was another new vendor at the show.
He joined in the booth of longtime vendor Richard Montz to display his multi-wood cutting boards.
"I enjoy woodworking and would love to have my own wood shop," Hirsch said. "I'm retired from the school, so this is something to do to keep busy."
Hirsch's wife, Julie, who recently retired from the Willows Department of Motor Vehicles, sold handcrafted garden stones.
Vendors offered a large variety of goods, and non-profit organizations, including the Willows Fire Department Auxiliary and Willows 4-H sold items to raise money for their charities and causes.
Indian Valley Elementary School students sold candles and other crafts to raise money for a field trip to Mission San Juan Bautista and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Few people left the event empty handed.
"The divinity alone was worth the trip," said Joyce Pendell.
Contact Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or email@example.com.