By Tracy Correa
BAKERSFIELD – The sights and sounds of Christmas filled downtown Bakersfield last week as the city celebrated its 30th annual Christmas Parade – and PG&E was right in the middle of it.
The nighttime parade, in this city of about 350,000 residents, is a longstanding Bakersfield tradition. The event draws 20,000 spectators and about 100,000 more watch the parade’s live, local television broadcast.
And even a little drizzle on parade night couldn’t keep the crowds away.
After a 5-year hiatus, PG&E returned this year as a participant — one of 93 parade entries.
Parade coordinator Pamela Carlock said she was glad to see PG&E take part.
“It’s great to have them back,” she said. “I’m delighted to have them.”
PG&E’s float was a 65-foot long, flatbed semi-truck – it’s light blue cab decorated with antlers and a red nose. The flatbed featured a tree with a model train circling around it, an abundance of colorful lights and a 1929 Ford Model A sedan that served as the centerpiece for PG&E employees — including veterans — and their families who rode on the float. It all fit with the parade’s theme of “An American Christmas.”
PG&E’s Terry Scott, executive manager of energy solutions and services in Bakersfield, said he was thrilled to be part of the parade. He was even more excited that PG&E’s float won first place among commercial entries.
Scott soon will retire after 43 years with PG&E.
“This is a great way to go out,” he said.
Shonda Abercrombie, a gas damage prevention supervisor for PG&E, was in charge of float decorating. She said being in the parade is a great way to let the community see the faces of those who work for PG&E in Kern County.
“We really wanted to get out in our community,” she said. “We really want people to know that PG&E is your neighbor, it is in your community.”
PG&E also helped sponsor the nonprofit parade with a $1,000 grant – money that helps defray expenses, including clean up.
As the night wore on and floats and school bands passed through downtown streets, there was only one fitting end to the holiday tradition: Santa, of course — the star and grand marshal of any Christmas parade.
Email Tracy Correa at firstname.lastname@example.org.