Those who drove from all over Colusa County to see the Festival of Lights on Saturday said Citizens for a Better Williams knows how to do Christmas well.
And the decorated floats that rolled through Williams under a clear sky were just part of the Christmas magic.
Children cheered at the bright lights and waved frantically to draw Santa Claus' gaze as he rode down E Street, but it was Recology's fire-breathing dragon that wowed the crowd.
Adults and children said the parade was the most memorable since citizens began hosting the event in 2007.
"It was the best parade ever," said Jose Solis, 6.
Giselle Salazar, 8, loved the parade and was awed like the rest of the crowd by the dragon, which was made from recycled materials like shovels and doorknobs.
"I also liked the barrel train," she said.
Although several people said they missed the children singing around the Christmas tree this year, they especially enjoyed the vendors that set up on E Street, just east of the parade route.
Businesses like Elena's, Aly's furniture and Bertha's Gift Shop on Seventh Street were also open for shoppers, as were some of the businesses on E Street.
Louie Cairo's was open and drew a crowd before and after the event.
It was the first time at the Festival of Lights for Miss Colusa County Mickie Wilson and Mini Miss Melissa Ramirez, both of Colusa.
Both called the event impressive, and said it rivaled any Christmas event in the area.
"It's great to see all the people and have some fun," Ramirez said.
Hundreds of people strolled through the vendor booths, which included profit and nonprofit organizations such as the Williams Community Center, Colusa Boy Scouts, Impact Colusa County, Williams Church of the Annunciation and the Youth Empowerment Service.
"We did the parade for a couple of years, but this year we decided to do a booth," said Terri Rivera, who established YES in honor of her mother Eleanor Azevedo in 2010. "There was a lot of people and we did pretty well."
Lloyd Green of Citizens of Better Williams said he was very pleased with the turnout of vendors this year.
"I think it really adds something to the event," Green said.
Many attending the Festival of Lights said it did exactly that.
"It's something to enjoy with my family," said Brayan Solis, 12.
The Festival of Lights concluded with the annual Fireman's Ball in the Old Gym.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.