Ogden community kicks off holiday season

Though it’s getting dark earlier and earlier, Ogden nights will be a little brighter throughout the holiday season, all beginning with Ogden City’s Electric Light Parade and opening ceremony for Ogden’s Christmas Village, which took place Saturday evening.

As dusk hit, thousands of spectators lined the curbs of Washington Boulevard between 22nd and 26th Street — bundled up, some with dogs, some with thermoses, some dressed as Santa — to watch the parade. Policemen on motorcycles weaved up and down the boulevard, and parade vehicles brightly glowed with strands of Christmas lights. People danced to the holiday songs from marching bands and loudspeakers on floats as they passed. Even the horses were strung with Christmas lights and bells jingling as they trotted along the route.

“It’s great, it’s fabulous — love the community,” said Steve Gibson, who attended the event, standing in the cold on 25th Street with his family. His daughter, Danielle, added that it was “very festive.” Brenda Gibson, his wife, said the event starts getting their Christmas spirit in gear.

“It’s a great community event,” she said.

The Electric Light Parade is an annual event that always falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The parade celebrates the opening of Ogden’s Christmas Village, which features more than 50 cottages this year, styled after Santa’s workshops at the North Pole.

The parade lasted roughly an hour and featured more than 25 floats from community businesses and organizations, including Weber State University, the Ogden City Fire Department, the Ogden City Council, UTA and the Northern Utah HOG chapter. The parade worked its way south from 22nd Street to 26th Street, and then floats came back to park on 25th.

Once the parade had passed, spectators poured into the Municipal Gardens in downtown Ogden. The crowd joined in counting down from 10, after which a man dressed as Santa Claus flipped the switch to turn on the Christmas lights decorating the park. The whole park lit up, the crowd collectively cheered, and a fireworks display began.

Andrey Akhmedov and Maria Ramirez, a longtime couple, were in attendance and said they were having a mellow date night. Close together in the cold and watching the parade pass, the two said this was their second year at the event, and that they were having a pretty good time.

“It happens only once a year,” said Akhmedov, and Ramirez said it was nice for the two to be able to get out of the house and be around people. “And show some spirit,” Akhmedov added jokingly.

Bridger Staley, one of the many children in attendance, excitedly hopped around 25th Street with other children after the parade. Staley came last year and said he liked seeing the parade and the Christmas lights, but that his absolute favorite part was getting to see Santa Claus.

Christmas Village will now be lit every night until Jan. 1. It is located in downtown Ogden at 343 25th St.