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Festival of Lights Parade jump starts the holiday season on Friday

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TWIN FALLS — As holiday shoppers switch their focus from Thanksgiving to Christmas, float builders are scrambling to complete their entries in the 2021 Festival of Lights Parade, presented by First Federal Bank and hosted by the Times-News.

Thousands of spectators will line Main Avenue before 6 p.m. Friday to watch dozens of floats travel six blocks from Magic Valley High School at Dierkes Street and past City Hall to Idaho Street.

A tree lighting ceremony will follow the parade at the Downtown Commons, where Santa will make an appearance.

Preparing for the light parade

Owner Jamee Muchow jokes around with her employees Tuesday at Windsor's Nursery near Kimberly. This is the fourth year the nursery has participated in the Festival of Lights Parade, presented by First Federal and hosted by the Times-News.

This year’s parade theme, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” echoes the town’s sense of community during the holidays.

“In the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ George realizes that Bailey Building and Loan means so much more to the community than just a bank,” said Jamie Boyer, director of marketing at First Federal. “It’s a place where friends and neighbors come to for advice and help in achieving their dreams.

“We like to think First Federal Bank plays a similar role in the Magic Valley,” Boyer said. “We’re homegrown and dedicated to bettering our communities.”

Festival of Lights Parade, 2019

The American Red Cross float is seen in the 2019 Festival of Lights Parade on Main Avenue. The parade was not held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lamb Weston is another longtime Twin Falls business that cares about the Magic Valley.

“As one of the largest employers here, we feel like Lamb Weston should be involved in the parade,” engineer Cort Johnson said.

And because Christmas will be here soon, Lamb Weston will be handing out coupons for fries and other potato products.

Employees who form the potato processor’s “I Care” team look forward to giving back to the community each year, Johnson told the Times-News.

“It’s good to see the satisfaction on the faces of our employees and their families at the parade,” he said.

In addition, three food trucks — Big Fatty’s BBQ, Mini Donuts and Road Runner Concessions with its Fair Favorite corn dogs — will sell great food to spectators.

Tony Barnes, co-owner of Road Runner Concessions, is also the chairperson of the Western Days Committee, which enters its float every year in the Festival of Lights Parade.

“We want to be part of Christmas and anything else going on in town,” Barnes said Wednesday. “It’s a lot of work, but the return is a positive effect on the community.”

The Western Days Committee has spent more than $1,000 on candy for this year’s parade, he said.

Main Avenue and its cross streets will be closed to traffic at 5 p.m. The parade will begin at 6 p.m. at Magic Valley High School on Main Avenue North. Streets will reopen at 9 p.m.

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The Magic Valley's official start to the Christmas season is here: The 2021 Festival of Lights Parade, presented by First Federal and hosted by the Times-News, is today.

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