What's the Christmas season without plenty of lights to keep the cold and dark away?
All around Hutchinson homes will be decorated, candy canes will be erected and stars will shine atop trees. And to add a little extra magic at 5 p.m. on Dec. 14, the second annual Hutchinson Holiday Parade of Lights will sparkle down Hassan Street between First Avenue and Faith Lutheran Church.
"I love Christmas and I will do anything for that," said Bobby Paulson, parade organizer. "When I did this (the first year), I thought, 'I'm going to try.' I had no expectations. We'd see if there was interest. And there was. A lot of organizations and companies in town wanted to do it."
The parade has a $50 suggested donation to enter a float, but that isn't meant to exclude anyone.
"We want people to participate," Paulson said. "So if they can't (pay the donation), that's fine."
At the head of the parade will be a lighted Allis-Chalmers tractor with Santa Claus in tow. The Upper Midwest Allis-Chalmers Club will be downtown early to offer rides during Downtown Christmas, a free event 3-5 p.m. at the Hutchinson City Center. Paulson's personal entry will also include a tractor.
"We have an old wagon and an Allis-Chalmers pulls it," he said. "We have the Lions Club in it an we throw candy."
The Lions Club is one of the event's hosts, and beneficiaries, along with the Down with Diabetes Alliance. The two organizations have teamed up to support children with diabetes, namely by sponsoring kids age 8-16 with Type I diabetes who want to visit Camp Sweet Life.
"It lets kids be with other kids going through the same thing," Paulson said. "My daughter went the last two years, and now she's a counselor. She said the best thing about it was she was normal. In school she has to leave before lunch to get a shot and all that stuff at the nurse's office. But (at the camp), everyone does that. It's normal."
Campers participate in swimming, rock climbing and other outdoor activities.
"They are trying to show kids you can be normal," Paulson said. "You can do everything everyone else can do. You just have to watch your blood sugar while you do it."
In the parade's inaugural year, 12 entries made the parade come together. This year, Paulson hopes to see a little growth with 15 to 20 floats. To participate, call Paulson at 320-582-1213 or email email@example.com.
"Hutchinson is such a nice, big community, and it has a beautiful downtown," Paulson said. "There is a nice event going on that day. What better way to end it than with a lighted parade?"