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  • Members of the 9NEWS float high-five ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Members of the 9NEWS float high-five kids in the crowd during the Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Kids reach up as a float ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Kids reach up as a float makes snow fall during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Colorado State University cheerleaders during the ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Colorado State University cheerleaders during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Bad Asstronauts during the 9NEWS Parade ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 1: Bad Asstronauts during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa. (Photo by Daniel Brenner/Special to the Denver Post)

  • The Colorado State University marching band ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    The Colorado State University marching band in front of the "Snow Tiger" balloon during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Kids smile during the 9NEWS Parade ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Kids smile during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • David Westman of Bad Asstronauts helps ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    David Westman of Bad Asstronauts helps turn on batteries during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • A selfie is taken after the ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    A selfie is taken after the lights are turned on during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • United States Air Force Academy Cadet ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    United States Air Force Academy Cadet Honor Guard during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • The Denver Samoyed Association marches as ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    The Denver Samoyed Association marches as fake snow is spewed during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Colorado State University marching band during ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Colorado State University marching band during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Bad Asstronauts during the 9NEWS Parade ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Bad Asstronauts during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • The Denver Samoyed Association marches as ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    The Denver Samoyed Association marches as fake snow is spewed during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Members of the 9NEWS float high-five ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Members of the 9NEWS float high-five kids in the crowd during the Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Columbine High School marching band drum ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Columbine High School marching band drum major Kyle Ralph before the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Jane Carlson, from left, Jan Moore, ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Jane Carlson, from left, Jan Moore, and her son John Moore hold on to the Honor Alliance "Gift of Life Balloon" during the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

  • Columbine High School marching band drum ...

    Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver Post

    Columbine High School marching band drum major Kyle Ralph practices before the 9NEWS Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at the Denver City and County building. The 43rd annual parade stretched two miles through downtown Denver and featured marching bands, ornate floats, and an appearance by "Major Waddles the Penguin" and Santa.

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PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Crowds in downtown Denver on Friday night along the route of the annual 9News Parade of Lights were more than 10 deep in spots as revelers cheered on Santa Claus, marching bands and various floats in unseasonably, delightful,  balmy weather.

“Oh, look at Santa,” squealed a young girl as St. Nick rolled by in his sled. Other children chanted: “Santa! Santa! Santa…”

Among the popular attire and props sported by paradegoers, young and old, were: Blinking, lighted head gear; Christmas lights worn as necklaces; sparkling, over-sized candy canes; and Santa hats. Red attire, in general, was popular.

As the parade streamed by at Colfax Avenue and 14th Street, seven-year-old Austyn sat on the shoulders of her uncle, Aaron Rathe, to get an uninterrupted view of the parade in all its splendor. Austyn’s twin brother, Alex, sat on the shoulders of his “auntie” Katie Rathe.

“I like it when horses go by,” Austyn said.

The Rathes, Colorado natives about to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary, have been to 28 parade of lights, Katie Rathe said.

Aaron Rathe said he looks forward to seeing the Denver City and County Building “lighted up” and he enjoys all the floats. “It makes you feel Christmassy,” he said with a smile.

Among the floats Friday night were: a colorful, long Chinese dragon, which gleefully snaked its way along the route; a huge, inflated white tiger; and a float of the Moffat Tunnel and the Continental Divide above spewing snow as Dean Martin sang “Let it Snow.”

Seven-year-old Austyn sat on the shoulders of her uncle, Aaron Rathe, to get an uninterrupted view of the parade in all its splendor. Austyn's twin brother, Alex, sat on the shoulders of his "auntie" Katie Rathe.
Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post
Seven-year-old Austyn sat on the shoulders of her uncle, Aaron Rathe, to get an uninterrupted view of the parade in all its splendor. Austyn’s twin brother, Alex, sat on the shoulders of his “auntie” Katie Rathe.

The downtown temperature was in the mid-40’s when the parade got going at 8 p.m. and a few, daring celebrants attended in t-shirts and shorts.

Heather Campbell, of Denver, brought her six-week-old son, Logan to the parade. Just before the event kicked off, Logan was snug and sound asleep below the canopy of a stroller.

“It’s definitely the warmest one I’ve been to,” said Heather, who has attended several parades.

Campbell’s brother, Ryan, up from Louisiana, in part, to visit his new nephew, was at his first Parade of Lights.

“We’ve got a lot of Mardi Gras things” back home, he said with a laugh.

The parade, presented by American Furniture Warehouse and produced by the Downtown Denver Partnership, repeats at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Denver Parade of Lights was established in 1975.

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