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Utah's Christmas town prepares to shine

Sun Advocate reporter

Helper Junior High gets into the Christmas spirit as they rough out the cold weather to man their creative float. Students of the junior high participate each year in the parade. According to the school's principal Tom Montoya, the youngsters are the driving force behind the construction of their float. Carbon Plant will sponsor this year's entry and student body officers have already met with and presented plant officials with the school's plans.

While many Carbon County residents are packing away Halloween decor and thinking about Thanksgiving turkey, Helper residents are already planning for Christmas. That's because events involved in the annual Helper Christmas Town Festival are scheduled to begin the middle of this month and will continue through Dec. 3.

The main event that highlights the month long festival is the electric light parade. This year, the city of Helper will host their 16th Christmas parade on Dec. 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. each night. The tradition is one that citizens from across the state look forward to each year.

With the parade only a month away, Christmas Town committee officials are beginning to round up entries. According to festival committee member Vicky Miller, now is the time to start constructing floats.

"Anyone can enter the parade. The only rule is that the theme centers around Christmas and that there are lights on the entry," explained Miller. "Entry forms are available at Helper City Hall."

Few rules apply when it comes to float entries. The committee does require that participants be with their float by 5:45 p.m. each night of the parade and owners must stay with the floats during the line up.

Festival committee members also ask that no live Santas be on a float. This allows the real Santa to greet the kids at the end of the parade each night.

Carbon County royalty participated in last year's light parade. Floats constructed of various materials house the Christmas spirit that is found in the small town of Helper each year.

Miller explained that parade entries range from elaborate floats to bicycles with a few strings of lights draped across the handlebars. As long as lights and Christmas are included in the scheme, pretty much anything goes.

Each year, students at Helper Junior High participate in the light parade. According to the school's principal Tom Montoya, this year will be no different.

"It takes quite awhile to get a float up and going," indicated Montoya. "We already have the student council members meeting with this year's sponsor. The kids are presenting a construction plan, budget and work schedule so that we can begin making the float for this year's parade."

Each year, junior high students participate in the process of preparing a float for the parade. According to Montoya, students draw their own plans of what they want the float to look like. They then come up with a budget and a time frame for construction. After this process was complete, this year's student body representatives met with Carbon Plant officials and presented them with the schools plans.

"By getting the kids involved in the entire design and construction process, we make the experience fun and educational at the same time," Montoya stated.

Now is the time to begin plans for the Christmas Town Festival events. Advanced planning can lead to a successful parade this year as well as added support for the city of Helper.

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