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Fort Worth kicks off Christmas season with Parade of Lights

FORT WORTH -- What do a psychedelic Volkswagen van, barbecue smokers and unicycles have in common?

They all were decorated with Christmas lights Friday night in downtown Fort Worth, delighting the crowd that packed the sidewalks for the annual Parade of Lights.

Spectators lined up early in the chilly, damp air. By parade time, people were perched on balconies, pressed against hotel windows and standing on benches to peek above the crowds.

Even the shortest spectators saw enough to put a smile on their faces.

For Ally Wells, a 3-year-old from Weatherford, it was "the horsies and Santa."

Her father, Cody Wells, said he enjoyed the antique cars, and her mother, Stash Wells, favored the Elvis impersonators -- Wheeling Elvi -- doing motorcycle stunts.

Many of those are returning acts. New to the parade this year was an extra emphasis on the parade's theme, "Sights and Sounds," which meant including music, organizer Jay Downie said. Most of the floats had live music and several had bands.

The sidewalks appeared to be a little fuller than last year, Downie said.

"When you're out on the parade route and you walk around and it's nothing but people on both sides, that's a heck of a feeling for the people that are in the parade," he said.