By Abbey Snow

After the parade, volunteers from the Virgin Valley Food Bank:(Left to Right) Carole Hanley, Carole Beil, Gleana Geary and Carol Peters, were serving cookies and hot chocolate to spectators. Photo by Samuel Snow.

A large crowd of spectators gathered along the streets in Mesquite Thursday, Dec. 7, to watch the Third Annual Salvation Army and Virgin Valley Community Food Bank Parade of Lights and Food Drivewith more than 20 floats decked out in beautiful, colorful lights. 

The parade started at 5:30 p.m. in the LDS Chapel parking lot on 100 N. Arrowhead Lane and headed towards Mesquite Boulevard. They continued up the boulevarand passed by City Hall where the bulk of the crowd was located. Along with lit- up floats, many were walking, singing and dancing down the streets. 

Mesquite Police Department trailer filled with food donated from individuals and businesses. They will receive an award for “Most Food Donated” at the next City Council Meeting on January 9, 2017. Photo by Samuel Snow

The Mesquite Fire and Rescue entered a firetruck decked out nicely in lights carrying special riders in the back.   

“Every year we help with the food donation, and go around collecting canned food so we can contribute to the food bank as well,” said MFR Deputy Chief Rick Resnick“We took a lot of pride in decorating and putting the fire engine in the parade. We had Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause in back, as well as Mesquite City Councilman, Geno Withelder.” 

Marketing Coordinator at Eureka Casino Carol White said this is the third year they have participated in the event. 

We had the pleasure of the Mesquite Showgirl’s partnering with us for this great cause,” White said. “ The Eureka is keenly aware of the importance of working together, as a company and a community. The employee/ owners donated food for the food drive and cookies and hot chocolate for the children who were visiting Santa and Mrs. Clause after the parade.” 

The Eureka Casino also donated the trophies, which will be presented at the Mesquite City Council meeting on Jan. 9 at 5:30 pm. The winners were: Best in LightsThe Lindi Corp; Best Group Participation, Girl Scouts; The Most Food Donations, Mesquite Police Department. 

Officer Sargeant Jordan Bundy said the Mesquite Police Department has also been involved in the parade since its inception three years ago.  

Bundy said this year they decorated a trailer with Christmas trees and blue lights, and filled it with all the donated food received from individuals and businesses. The MPD volunteers also helped with traffic control for the parade event, which is vital for many community events to be successful.  

Mesquite Fire and Rescue firetruck with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause and Mesquite City Councilman, Geno Withelder, riding in the back. Photo by Samuel Snow

“We feel that for the community members and businesses to trust and communicate effectively with the police department about law enforcement issues, it is important they know who we are and that we care about the citizens of this community,” Bundy said. “ Police Chief Tanner supports community events very strongly. We strive our best, amidst our everyday law enforcement obligations, to fulfill these important events and opportunities to serve. 

After the parade, volunteers from the Virgin Valley Food Bank — Carole Hanley, Carole Beil, Gleana Geary and Carol Peters — were serving cookies and hot chocolate donated by the Eureka in front of City Hall to a long line of spectators waiting for free refreshments.   

“We are grateful to be involved in this great program that helps fill the cupboards of our local Food Bank and hope everyone enjoyed the parade this year,” Bundy said.