The second annual Mesquite Parade of Lights is an annual fundraising effort for both the Salvation Army and the Virgin Valley Food Bank. Entrants into the parade collect a large amount of non-perishable food items to donate as their entrance fee. There was a prize for the group that collected and donated the most food; there was even some friendly competition between the MPD and the MFD on the collection end. The parade coordinator, Mike Benham, thought the parade last year yielded a good amount of food for both recipients and this year was shooting to double last year’s 1,000 pound total.
Christmas music could be heard from the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce’s float which gave the crowd something to begin tapping their toes to but it was the Stateline Casino’s float that carried the entertainment down the Blvd. Stephanie Clark belted out Jingle Bell Rock and Rocking around the Christmas Tree while calling out to the familiar faces in the crowd. Clark had the entire parade route dancing in the streets and made it a fun and entertaining occasion for all.
Imagine Benham’s shock and surprise when he found that the parade participants this year better than doubled his goal by three times. Mesquite residents showed once again just how generous the people of the town are having donated a grand total of 6,000 pounds of food that will be split between the families that visit the VVFB and the Salvation Army this Christmas. Mesquite Police won the contest by collecting 2,700 of those pounds of food
through their department’s efforts. “There’s never going to be a reason for a family to go hungry in this town, especially around the holidays. People are just really freaking good, kind and generous when it comes to taking care of others,” said Benham. “How can you not appreciate living in Mesquite and around these wonderful people? It’s just so heartwarming to see something like this. This is exactly what Christmas is all about.”
The parade had 23 participants including: Ace Hardware, Beaver Dam Fire Department, Beaver Dam High School, Desert Dogs, Eureka, Girl Scout Troops #37 and #827, Guns & Guitars, Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Mesquite Fire Department, Mesquite High Rollers, Mesquite Police Department, Mesquite Showgirls, Mitchelle Burkett Real Estate, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, Salvation Army, Smart Style, Stateline Casino, TDS and The United Horsemen and Women of Nevada.