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Holiday celebrations: When the sun goes down, the crowds come out in Williams
The final event in a busy night of festivities for the Williams was the 91st annual Williams Firefighters' Ball, which featured live music by the Highway 20 Band.
Even with the small crowd, the dance floor was active as attendees boogied to the country tunes sung by the local band.
No figures for funds raised or the number of attendees at the Firefighters' Association event were available on Tuesday.
It was a small crowd in the early afternoon when vendors first opened their booth for the third annual Downtown Holiday Stroll in Williams on Saturday.
"Everybody is bunched (in here). It's quiet," said Lynn Reister, who was selling homemade baked goods.
"I only decided on Wednesday that I was going to do this, but it is really organized. They email you a great calendar and tells you exactly where you are going to be," Reister said.
The event did not stay quiet for long.
As the warmth of the afternoon chilled and the last vestiges of the sun's rays faded into a moonlit evening, the streetlights came on and the Holiday Stroll heated up. By 6 p.m., the crowd had swelled, and the one-block stretch of E Street set aside for the event was packed from curb to curb.
"I did pretty well in sales last year, so I decided to come back," vendor Gerry Hernandez said.
"I'm next to a fun booth this year," he said as children at the booth next to her cheered and spun a prize wheel, where they had the opportunity to win a number of sweet edible prizes.
Jean Moore, who was selling chili beans at a booth for the Heart and Soul Group of the Catholic Church in Williams, enjoyed the opportunity for community interaction that the Holiday Stroll has provided.
"This is nice. It's a way for the community to know about us and us to know about them," Moore said.
Just before 6:30 p.m., the crowd at the Downtown Holiday Stroll began to gather around the Williams town square, where a 67-foot behemoth of a tree was set to be lighted.
A vendor at the stroll had sold light-up items, and they booth's popularity was made evident by the number of children sporting flashing glasses and light-swords as they played around the town square.
At 6:30 p.m., the spiraling decorations came to life with no announcement to cheers from the crowd.
For the next 30 minutes, people moved back to the Stroll or found a spot on Seventh and E streets to watch the parade.
The parade, which the nonprofit group Citizens for a Better Williams started in 2008, has become a marquee event in the area over the years, drawing people from all over Colusa County and beyond.
Ron Hamilton, a volunteer with the Colusa County Volunteer Citizen Service Unit posted at Seventh and E, said the turnout was good and the event is important for fostering and maintaining community identity.
"People are starting to understand that our heritage is going. It's good that people are starting to recognize that," Hamilton said. Then, referencing the gathered crowd, "There's a lot of people (who) come out for this."
This year's parade saw 19 entrees. Some threw candy to the crowd, some tossed plastic footballs, and one float belonging to Recology had a fire-breathing mechanical dragon.
"It's cool to get everyone together, you know?" Police Chief and interim City Administrator James Saso said after the parade.
CONTACT reporter Brian Pearson at 713-9519.