Livingston, Atwater mark coming of Christmas with parades

Yuletide bliss was abundant Friday night in Livingston and Atwater, as both cities got into the Christmas spirit with parades that attracted hundreds.

Atwater’s procession kicked off at Third Street and Grove Avenue near Ralston Park, proceeded down Third Street and turned west on Broadway. The parade then turned on Fifth Street, where it ended. Livingston’s parade began at Memorial Park and ended at D Street.

The Christmas festivities will continue locally today, with the annual downtown Merced Christmas parade.

Hosted by the Active 20-30 Club of Merced, today’s downtown festivities begin at 11 a.m. and include a 2-mile Jingle Bell Run that will benefit Toys for Tots. There will also be craft and food vendors stationed on Canal Street, and local performers will be in front of Bob Hart Square every hour to entertain. The parade kicks off at 3 p.m. on West Main Street, and the tree will be lighted afterward in Bob Hart Square.

There will be complimentary hot chocolate and cookies from the Merced Breakfast Lions Club, according to organizers.

There will be more performances and singing after the tree lighting. The event is sponsored by Education Employees Credit Union, Scholle Packaging and the city of Merced.

Forecasters have said there’s a chance of rain and/or snow early this morning, with a high of 40 degrees this afternoon.

Jim Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said that with the possibility of wind of 10 to 20 mph that parade attendees might want to wear a hat and a coat. “It’s going to be a blustery afternoon,” Anderson said.

Anderson said no rain is expected for Sunday, and the projected high is 41 degrees during the day.