Everyone is Invited to Join the 17th Annual South Campos Parade of Lights
If you are looking for a fun-packed holiday evening in the Mexicali or San Felipe areas, mark December 28 on your calendar. This is the date of the 17th Annual South Campos Parade of Lights, that takes place in and around San Felipe (part of the Mexicali municipality). If you have never heard of or participated in this event you are in for a big, big surprise. You’ll see antique cars, new cars, convertibles, SUVs, and just about any other kind of vehicle that can be driven safely on the road (it must also be able to driven on the beach for 10-12 miles). Now, this is not the San Felipe SCORE 250 off-road race, so don’t expect wild action. What is surprising is that it is not just that there will be a variety of vehicles — it is the fact that each one will be decorated with lights. Not just plain old white lights, but red, green and orange, and just about any other color imaginable, with some lights blinking and some just blazing into the twilight until they burn out from being on so long. It is pretty remarkable, watching this parade of lights — and maybe even a Santa or a snowman — travel through the desert corridor that parallels the Sea of Cortez, and that then illuminates the white sand beach!
Another great thing about the Annual Parade of Lights is that anyone and everyone can join in the event. All you need is a vehicle that can make the trek, some inspiration and creativity in decorating your car, and enough gas to get from Point A to Point B. Some of the locals refer to this as the Come-Along-Parade since everyone is invited to join in. All participants will meet at the parade office in Playas de Oro at 3:30 p.m. This ensures that everyone can come together and form a caravan. And, good news! The road is fully paved all the way.
If you are not joining the parade and just want to watch, the official starting time is 5 p.m. at the Poblado KM 35.5 (which is technically in the Ensenada municipality, but remember…that is a vast region, so just think ‘San Felipe’). It then heads south to Campos Cadena KM 41.5. There, the parade turns left and heads for the beach. The crowd congregates at Campo Sahuaro KM 32 where, once everyone has arrived at the final location, the fiesta begins: The drivers, participants and looky-loos will be entertained with a huge bonfire. Don’t be concerned about the weather because the welcomed bonfire will keep everyone warm.
If you join in the parade, and you have done a spectacular job of decorating your vehicle, you might win one of several awards for your efforts. But, according to Hal Stuart, one of the event organizers, it isn’t about prizes and awards…it is about the season of giving. Everyone is asked to bring a donation of a toy or gift or sweaters or jackets — whatever! — for a child. These offerings will be distributed at the Poblado by the event organizers. There is no doubt that all who participate in the parade will have a great time and part of that is the rewards of putting big smiles on children’s faces when they receive their gifts!
If you have any questions about the Parade of Lights, please contact Hal at email@example.com. In the meantime, why not think about visiting San Felipe for the winter? Lots of snowbirds (Americans or Canadians who want to head for warmer climes and come south of the border) each year. It is always a tranquil place to discover the Sea of Cortez…and who knows? Just maybe you’ll find yourself on a white sand beach celebrating the holidays amidst of wondrous Parade of Lights.
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