It's time for the biggest parade of the year in Grand Junction.

The annual Parade of Lights is the biggest, grandest, coolest, and coldest parade of the year in Grand Junction. Thousands of people will gather along Main Street to watch the colorful floats go by and to hear the marching bands. It's such a festive and wonderful time.

There are those people that come to the parade and stay from start to finish regardless of the weather. Others will come and watch until the kids get too cold to sit still. Then there are those that just don't go at all. It's too cold, it's too long, they have other plans, or they are just too tired. All are perfectly legitimate reasons for not going.

The theme for this year's parade is "A Comic Book Christmas", so there should be lots of really cool floats and the kids are going to just love it. Some positive changes have been made that I believe will make this year's Parade of Lights better than ever.

Whichever category you belong in, I'm going to give you five things you need to know about this year's Parade of Lights in downtown Grand Junction - and then you can make your decision.

1) WHEN IS THE PARADE?
The parade starts at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 and will move from 9th down Main Street to 3rd. Downtown holiday shoppers are reminded to have their cars off of Main Street by 2:00 Saturday. Vehicles left on Main Street after 2:00 will be towed to a nearby lot where they can be retrieved by the owner at a later time.

2) HOW LONG IS THE PARADE?
It's the biggest parade of the year and so many people love it, but in year's past, it's just been too much of a good thing. It hasn't gone unnoticed that at least half the people who attend the Parade of Lights never make it to the end of the 2 1/2-plus hour parade. They miss out on some of the really outstanding floats - and the kids miss out on the chance to see Santa. So, this year, there are fewer parade entries, and entries with multiple elements have been restricted to fewer vehicles in their entry. These efforts mean the parade has a good chance of being done by 7:00. At least, that's the goal.

3) WHERE CAN YOU PARK?
As I mentioned, parking on Main Street is not allowed after 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, but there are still plenty of free parking options. There are parking lots on Colorado Avenue, there is the parking garage on Rood and plenty of side street parking throughout the downtown area. Come early to get the best parking spot, and to get your favorite viewing area. One way to beat the crowd is to simply have an early dinner at one of the downtown restaurants.

4) WHERE IS THE JUDGING AND ANNOUNCER'S STAND?
The judges stand and announcers will be near Wells Fargo Bank at 4th and Main. Speakers will be set up so that everyone within a block or so can hear what's going on. I will be announcing the parade again this year along with my colleague, Alicia Selin, from MIX 104.3 and we are going to have so much fun.

5) WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?
One thing we know is that we won't be having bitter cold temperatures. Remember a few years ago when the temperature at parade time was something like 14 degrees. The Saturday forecast is calling for sunshine and 48 for the high. The temperature at parade time - at this point - should be around 42 degrees dropping down to about 37 degrees by the time the parade is over. I'm not saying it won't be chilly, but for a late afternoon in December, the weather should actually be pretty comfortable.

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