The rain came down full force on the Angels Camp Lighted Christmas Parade as spectators took refuge under awnings and inside shops, where wine and hot cocoa were poured to warm the spirit.
A beloved tradition among parents, the annual Thanksgiving weekend parade was accompanied by the Holiday Wine Hop, featuring 15 local businesses and wineries. Organized by the Angels Camp Business Association, the event is an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to explore the oft-overlooked Downtown Angels Camp while also sampling the flavors of Calaveras County.
“It’s been a really, really fun evening,” said Barbara Ziegenfuss, owner of Prestige Gallery, where Coppermine wine was being poured for perusing patrons. “When we have an event like this, people go, ‘Oh, you have a frame shop!’ Most people who live here don’t shop downtown.”
Ziegenfuss said she usually doesn’t sell much during the Wine Hop, but it increases visibility for her shop throughout the year.
One of the locals who attends the parade annually, regardless of the weather, is Rebecca Cuevas, who brought along her 13-year-old niece Mercedes Garcia, California’s Universal Beauty 2019, in full regalia.
“We knew it was going to be cold,” said Cuevas, who bundled up with her family and dog in chairs they brought from home. “We’re just here for the parade. It’s a good way to get the cheer going.”
This year’s parade was grand marshalled by Aldie and Paula Broglio in honor of their many years of community service in Angels Camp. The couple and their children were followed by a procession of cars, homemade floats, and even horses, all draped in colorful Christmas lights.
A Jack Skellington on stilts was a creepy yet popular addition to the parade, with fans running into the street for photos with the drenched, towering figure.
In one of the empty storefronts, children lined up to sit on Santa’s lap and share their hopes for the coming holiday, while parents mingled merrily.