SEELEY – With marching bands draped in Christmas lights and brightly decorated floats, the Naval Air Facility El Centro (NAF) hosted its largest attendance ever at the 25th annual Holiday Parade of Lights and Silver Anniversary Celebration at the Navy Base in Seeley Friday night.
Holiday music, baked goods, hot chocolate, and coffee were all complimentary and provided by the Moral Welfare and Recreation unit, which also provides many of the quality of life initiatives that the troops are able to enjoy on base.
“Each year we put on a little holiday parade and invite the people of the Imperial Valley to come out and visit us and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season together,” said Kristopher Haugh, Public Affairs Officer for the NAF.
Before the parade commenced, events for the kids such as the cha-cha dance battle, entertained the crowd as the 1,264 in attendance began to pour in and select vantage points along B Street.
“This was the very first year we added entertainment before the parade, so the people who came out early to get those good seats would have something to treat themselves with,” said Haugh.
American Operations Corporation Support Services stole the show with their magnificent Welcome to Whoville themed float that lit up the night with its fluorescent green, pink, and blue colored twinkling bulbs, earning them the Commanding Officer’s first place award for best float.
The Holtville High School Band impressed the judges adorning their uniforms and instruments with purple and magenta neon rope lights as they marched along to claim Best High School Band honors of the night.
Draped in Christmas lights, the McCabe School Band ran away with the crown for Best Elementary School Band performance.
“This event is a way for us to giving back to the Imperial Valley and say thank you for being such good neighbors,” Haugh said. “Many of the floats do come from outside of the base and we really do appreciate the support the community gives us.”