Doreen Mack: End of an era for Santa Parade
For 20 years I have been bringing Christmas events to Downtown Carson City, beginning in 2000 when I had my retail store on Telegraph Square with Santa and his real reindeer. The Santa Parade was created in 2007 and was always the Saturday after the Silver and Snowflakes festival originating at Telegraph Square to bring awareness to the existing businesses in the area. It was a huge success for our community and has been one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences in my life. From 2013 on, the parade has been sponsored by the Downtown 2020 Group, of which, I am founder and president.
My family provided the core of the parade. I was Mrs. Claus with my son, Vincent, as Mr. Claus. My daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were elves, as well as, participating extended family and friends. My husband, Lloyd, oversaw the veterans section. Troy Morgan, owner of the burning man Art Car Ship would come down the street with music a blazing. We would then load the ship with Santa and the kids and begin our parade with the community following us through town, all were welcome to join in. The parade was only two square blocks long so the children, grandparents and veterans could walk the journey. Santa and I would then go to the porch of Rocking and Rolling and spend many enjoyable hours with the kids.
Fortunately, in all the years of Santa events I had to only cancel one parade in 2016 and it was devastating. It was a torrential rainstorm and the streets were flooded making it a public liability. This was heartbreaking for everyone, and I was devastated. You just don’t cancel a parade. It is a huge chain reaction from canceling the ship coming from Washoe Valley (who had informed me we can’t do it), police escorts, road closures, vendors, food trucks and at the same time trying to make the public aware of the cancellation. Santa and I showed up at the porch that day for those families that dared to venture out in the flood and the few families that did, made our time worthwhile.
The weather made it unpredictable to continue using the Santa Ship and to plan events. Last year Hoofbeats was Santa’s ride and it was magical. The Visitors and Convention Bureau helped with marketing and led the procession with their small truck. We worked with Carson High School on fliers for the elementary schools and they showed up to sing Christmas Carols. It was a beautiful choreography of events and the community showed up in huge numbers on a very cold day!
Yearly, the Downtown Merchants supported this event and donated many wonderful gift items for our raffle. The Greenhouse Garden Center contributed Christmas trees for Santa’s backdrop on Rocking and Rolling’s porch that Jeanette so graciously let us use. Last year Curry Street had just been renovated, but not landscaped, so I had purchased a large 8-foot gnome from Greenhouse Garden Center for Telegraph Square that they temporarily delivered for the day. It is now a monument at our house.
With a heavy heart the time has come for me to retire the Santa Parade. I am forever grateful to our community who over the years participated in making this a successful event. Thank you for your support.
I will end this with one of my most memorable moments.
PRAYERS FOR ELLA (Christmas 2012)
The following story is about a young girl who forever touched my heart
After the Parade, Santa and I would be on the porch of Rocking and Rolling and I would introduce the lineup of small children to Santa one at a time as they would tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Then a beautiful, tall, fragile 13-year-old girl, approaches me. As I look up at her she tells me her name is Ella and I foolishly ask, “Are you sure you want to be here?” She says, yes, that she suffers from a blood disease that is a genetic disorder and she wants to ask Santa to please not let her go back to the hospital, where she had been just released and had spent many Christmases. She wanted to be home for Christmas.
With a broken heart, I gave her a hug and assured her we would pray for her. I then presented her to Santa, she sat on his lap and told him about her condition and wish. He said, “I will pray for you,” and she gave him a big hug. At that moment, teary eyed, God gave me the greatest gift of all. Santa is my son and I could not have been prouder of him.
Ella is forever in my heart and prayers, I never saw her again, but every year I think of her at Christmas and hope and pray her wish was granted.
Wishing you all a blessed Christmas … God bless, Doreen Mack.