2021 Light Parade biggest yet

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Santa Claus marked the end of the 24th annual Light Parade in Downtown Safford on Saturday.

By Jon Johnson


Jon Johnson Video/Gila Herald

SAFFORD – The 24th annual Downtown Safford 2021 Light Parade was the biggest one to date as the entries swelled after being canceled last year for COVID-19.

More than a thousand spectators poured through Downtown Safford’s streets and shops on Saturday night for the event. Santa Claus was on hand (and later rode in the parade) and took pics with the youngsters at the beautifully renovated Safford Theatre. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The LifeNet entry included a Toy Story theme.

Prior to the parade, those in the Main Street/5th Avenue area were treated to a karate demonstration by Extreme Martial Arts and various dance performances by the Safford Dance Academy. Garrett Morris of Pima sang the National Anthem in between the entertainment and the parade.  

The parade itself was the star of the show and the diva of the parade had to be the hot-air balloonists who threw fire 20 feet or so into the dark night sky – illuminating the looks of wonder in the children’s faces. The Balloon Extravaganza will launch balloons daily from Dec. 30 – Jan. 2 from 6 – 8 a.m. at Ruth Powell School at 1041 S. 14th Ave. in Safford.  

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Balloonists cross their fire streams during the Light Parade in Downtown Safford on Saturday.

The parade entries went all out this year for the theme “Christmas in the Country” with some vehicles decked out top to bottom in lights. 

Santa hailed the end of the parade, and he was shown in a comfy chair and was joined by Mrs. Claus and Cindy Lou Who while unbeknownst to them the Grinch lurked about.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Safford Dance Academy

Light Parade Winners

Family & Friends – Zumba Fitness of the Gila Valley

School – First United Methodist Preschool

Non- Profit – SEACAP Government – Graham County

Small Business – LifeNet 10

Large Business – Open Loop Energy

Click here to see the Gila Herald’s Photo Album of the event.