For many of the thousands who gathered in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday, the Festival of Lights parade was a chilly welcome to the holiday season.

For Colorado Springs residents Gabbie and Paul Newman, the 34th annual event was about something much more: building tradition.

The couple gave birth to their daughter, Nora, in September.

Bundled under a blanket, Nora likely won’t remember the kaleidoscope of lights strung from the parade’s 80-plus floats.

“We want a tradition for our family that will hopefully last a long time,” Gabbie said. “Even if she doesn’t remember it, we (Paul and I) will.”

The tradition has stuck for the Gallegos family of Peyton since their oldest daughter, Alaska, was born. Four kids and 17 years later, the family still watches the show with wonder and awe, especially given Saturday’s snow.

“My favorite thing about the parade is seeing the Christmas lights shine in the snow,” Alaska said. “It’s always really pretty and not something you always get to see.”

Flakes started to fall around 4 p.m. and continued on and off until the end of the parade.

The procession of snowmen, nutcrackers, reindeer and, of course, Santa also paid tribute to the family of El Paso County sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick, who was killed during an auto theft investigation in February. His widow and 7-year-old twins served as the parade’s grand marshals.

Those attending Woodland Park’s Lighter Side of Christmas Parade narrowly avoided wintry weather.

Visibility was down to 300 feet in some places just an hour before the festivities commenced but had cleared when the floats got moving, Teller County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Greg Couch tweeted.

Saturday’s parade was Woodland Park’s 30th and was themed “Christmas in the Stars.”

“We want a tradition for our family that will hopefully last a long time.” Colorado Springs resident Gabbie Newman on the Festival of Lights parade

Twitter: @lizmforster

Phone: 636-0193

Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and sweet potato enthusiast. Liz joined The Gazette in June 2017.

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