Eau Claire's First Winter Parade: A quick recap

Tom Giffey |

The were floats, there were goats, and there were even a couple of Grinches, and that was a recipe for success for the inaugural Clearwater Winter Parade and Family Fun Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 15. The event, sponsored by the city of Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, began with a twilight parade that drew thousands of spectators to Water Street and even more when it was broadcast live (and rebroadcast) on WEAU-TV. Among the 48 parade entries, Kristo Orthodontics won for best use of lights; the parks department won for best use of the parade’s theme, which was “A Flurry of Activities”; and the Chippewa Valley ATVers won the judges choice award. (We’re also told that Volume One’s Holly Jolly Super Santa Action Squad – which thrilled the crowd by bursting from our classic 1967 Chevy van and launching teddy bears into the crowd – placed second or third in each award category.) After the parade, an estimated 5,000 people descended on Hobbs Ice Center for more wintry merriment, drinking 1,200 cups of free hot chocolate and helping raise $3,000 for youth recreation scholarships. Hopefully, the event’s success will snowball in the future, so mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, when the second annual parade is planned.

WEAU-TV will rebroadcast the Clearwater Winter Parade on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 at 10:30pm.