The air was filled with Christmas cheer on Saturday night as Ogden kicked off the holiday season with the annual Santa Run and Holiday Electric Light Parade.
“I’ve done (the Santa Run) a few times,” said Eden, Utah resident Kris Shugars. “It’s just a great way to start the holiday season.”
The evening’s festivities began with the eighth annual Santa Run, where hundreds of participants dressed as Santa Claus ran up and down Washington Boulevard between 22nd Street and 28th Street. People of all ages walked, jogged and ran their way through the falling snow as popular Christmas songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Run Run Rudolph” filled the air.
“It was good, but cold,” Shugars said. “(The snow) was a special added touch.”
For Bellevue, Washington native Tommy Jaynes, his first year participating in the run was a great experience.
“It’s my first time. I thought it was really fun,” Jaynes said. “I joined a little running team with my friends and we like signing up for fun things like this.”
Rachel Jacobson from Belmont, California was spending Thanksgiving with her family in Eden and found out about the Santa Run while searching online for 5K races happening over Thanksgiving weekend.
“I thought it was very awesome. It was cool to see all these young families out running in Christmas solidarity, and a nice little snow sprinkle makes for a really good experience,” Jacobson said. “It definitely makes for a nice Christmas experience.”
Jacobson’s father, Joe DeVay, was visiting from Houston, Texas and was convinced by Jacobson to also participate in the run.
“My daughter, she loves to run marathons. She said, ‘Dad, we’ve got to run the Santa Run.’ So in a moment of weakness, maybe even mental illness, I said, ‘Sure!'” DeVay said. “So we all signed up. There were six of us from the flatlands, running and trying to breathe this wonderful atmosphere, but what a rush. It was so cool. We’ll do it again next year.”
After eating some refreshments, some of the Santas joined the hundreds of people crowding the sidewalks along Washington Boulevard to watch the Electric Light Parade go by.
The Ben Lomond High School Bagpipe Corps led off the parade, as they were soon followed by various floats and cars all adorned in colorful lights.
A float sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation went with an ocean theme rather than a Christmas theme, as a giant octopus and dolphins adorned the float while speakers played the song, Under the Sea from the Disney movie, “The Little Mermaid.”
The Ogden City Police Department and Ogden City Fire Department also got into the holiday spirit, as they drove their trucks, cars and motorcycles down the street covered in Christmas lights.
Crystal Parkin from Roy, Utah was among those lining Washington Boulevard to watch the parade along with her boyfriend and his children. Parkin said she enjoyed the parade and that the floats were, “pretty cool.”
At the very end of the parade, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus rode in on their sleigh-float to the Christmas Village where Santa flipped the switch that turned on all of the lights in the Christmas Village for the first time of the season.