By Myrna Trauntvein
Local businesses and Nephi City teamed together to present the community with the Fifth Annual Nephi Christmas Light Parade.
Debbie Zirbes, council-appointed chairman for the annual Light Parade, attended council meeting with two of the members of her committee: Judy and Niels Jensen. The trio reported to the council on the successes of the event.
"We know you have great people working on your committee and serving our community," said Mark Jones, mayor.
Zirbes agreed and said she also wanted people of the community to know that the city donated all of the money used to purchase the glow sticks handed out during the parade.
"I received 62 T-shirts from Ludlow Engineering and Custom Shirt Printing, and I also received 100 Ice Cream Cones and money from Reed's. Custom Sign Works ( aka Salt Creek Signs) donated the sign cover, Snipz donated hair cuts and eyebrow wax, Mt. Nebo Market donated a $50 gift card, and Garrett Honda donated generators, ATV's, gas, etc.," she said. "These are the businesses who went the extra mile to help."
Other members of the committee, in addition to the Jensens, are Wayne and Connie Jarrett, Carla Brooks, Amy Zirbes (Advertising), Jennifer Zirbes and Jeff Sanders.
The theme for the 2012 parade was "Light up the World," and entry participants did a great job of keeping to the theme, said Zirbes.
"Next year, instead of 4-wheelers carrying the light sticks down the side of the street we think we will have them go down the center of the street and people will walk down the sides of the street," said J. Jensen.
The walkers will refurbish their supplies from the center 4-wheelers which will be much safer for children of the community.
Zirbes, as chairman of the committee, said that the committee is thinking of asking for volunteers, perhaps from the high school, to walk along the edges of the street handing out the light necklaces.
"They are really popular with the kids," said Mark Jones, mayor.
There are some of those glow sticks left over and they can be stored for next year, said Zirbes.
There was such a good turnout for the parade this year, said Kent Park, council member, that the Chamber actually ran out of donuts. The streets had been lined with festive people and city park had drawn a large number of visitors after the event.
Part of that may have been due to the excellent weather this year, he said.
In addition, the event is now known about in other communities and those people come to view the parade.
There were approximately 650 people who cast votes following the event. She was confident that the voting was all above board since the ballot box at the park was watched carefully by Carla Brooks.
Another 100 or so put their ballots in the city utility drop box which is a favor to the elderly members of the community who want to vote since they do not have to leave their cars to leave a ballot in the drive-by drop box.
"I thought the parade was just the right length and that we had a lot of good entries," said Jones.
Jensen said that the committee had made certain the entries were close together and that did help viewers enjoy the entries.
Jensen also wondered if it would be better to have judges for most of the entry categories and just have the parade viewers select the grand winner.
Zirbes said she had always liked having the residents vote.
Lisa Brough, council member, said she also thought that people liked voting for the winners and that was part of the charm and added to the excitement of the event.
Jones said he agreed and did not want to lose that appeal. He enjoyed the aspect of the Light Parade winners being selected by the people who watched the parade.
In all, the council later indicated that they supported having the spectators vote for the winning entries.
"Who did the art work for you?" asked Justin Seely, council member. "It was very professionally done."
That work was done by her daughter, Jennifer, who was an artist, Zirbes said. Amy Zirbes has been doing the advertising for the event.
Both have been doing the work as volunteers.
Zirbes said that the work of the Honda shop had been greatly appreciated.
"The businesses of the community have been helpful in making the parade a success," said Zirbes. "We also appreciate the help the council gives and the support we receive."
The council determined approximately six years ago that they wanted an annual Christmas Light Parade and Zirbes answered the call for help by answering an ad. She was selected to chair a committee for the first event and has been at the job since.
The parade has become a tradition and is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year that date was November 24.
The parade began a bit earlier this year, something Zirbes said the committee had learned was wise from past experience. So at 6:15 p.m., after the lights were turned on at the Old Mill Park, the parade began on the corner of 300 South and 100 East by the church.
The only entry requirement of the parade is to use lights in some way.
The council thanked Zirbes and her committee for their work and affirmed that they would like Zirbes to continue as the chair for the coming year.
"I start each year in August getting things ready," said Zirbes.