I'm curious to know what people's experiences were on Saturday night, from the perspective of spectators, shoppers and business owners.
We intended to do some shopping, but the sidewalks were so packed in front of business entrances, we actually skipped that part. This wasn't just people walking around, it was parade goers setting up their chairs directly in front of businesses and settling in for the duration. For business on the north side of Central, this made them pretty inaccessible, especially for families with strollers, etc. We also planned on eating out as we have for past Shop & Strolls, but we ended up heading home for dinner instead, again because of the crowds. The parking situation seemed dramatically bad and I imagine folks living in the immediate vicinity were pretty unhappy about it.
The parade was very twinkly and full of cute and crazy alike. I particularly liked the disco dancing Darth Vader on a sand barge. And the tiny ponies (tiny ponies!!) are always a favorite. I admit the horns and other parade noises were more enjoyable for not bouncing around in the canyon-like walls of downtown Central Ave, where they can sometimes be overwhelming, though I suppose that's part of the parade experience too.
From our point of view, combining these two events was not a real success. We missed the annual evening in downtown Abq full of people enjoying themselves without being intoxicated bar patrons. I think Twinkle Light is one of the few events that reliably gets families out and about in downtown. And we didn't actually participate in the shopping part of the event because the crowds and atmosphere in the late afternoon and evening weren't conducive to that. We'll still do our holiday shopping at local businesses, but it'll happen next weekend instead. I personally hope the city reconsiders the location of the parade next year and returns it to downtown.
I heard from a friend in the parade last year that no one showed up. Was that because of the weather or the location?
I went last year and there was a decent turn-out, though it was very cold. I caught it from downtown, but part of the issue was it took a looong time for the parade to reach downtown from its start point and, by the time it arrived, many of the lights were no longer working and many of the participants looked pretty tired out.
Yeah, last year was both cold and snowy and I think the downtown route is much longer than the Nob Hill one. That's maybe something for the city to consider if they want to think about moving it back downtown (obviously, I'm a partisan for this option). I also agree with the comments above that separating the two events into different days in Nob Hill is a good option. I really do like going downtown for the light show though!
Yeah - not sure why, but last year's parade was very delayed. There was a lot of time waiting in the cold before things really got moving.
I do not think that the addition of the parade to Shop & Stroll was a good idea. The Nob Hill event is successful without the parade, and the parade interfered with the strolling & shopping. I missed the freedom of the streets and running into friends. I actually didn't like the parade. I love the Marigold Parade and never miss it. I love lights and shiny things too. But the Twinkle Light Parade was too much official ABQ, too much corporate sponsorship, too much exhaust to breathe, too much time. I bailed on the parade halfway through and attempted to go back to strolling. Movement on the north side of Central was impossible. Crossing the street was impossible. Getting into a restaurant was impossible. Next year, no parade for Nob Hill Shop and Stroll, please.
The event ruined parking for the three events held at UNM this past weekend- people parked on campus and by the time the patrons arrived for the ballet, the musical and the Renaissance Fair, there was nothing left. If the crowds are that large and there is obviously not that much parking in Nob Hill, maybe next year they can offer off site parking and bus people to the parade.
I think the weather was a big factor in pulling in the large crowd. Last year, the freeze forced them to cancel and then reschedule the Shop & Stroll. If it's near or below freezing, not as many folks will likely watch a parade or stroll the street. I definitely agree that Park & Ride would be a good idea in the future if we continue to see these kinds of crowds, however.
Did you see antbody getting signatures for the referendum on the city elections next year? It would amend the Albuquerque charter to require 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off. Now it only requires 40% -- not a majority.
They only needed a few more signatures to get the 12,000+ required. Then the city council has to approve it or have an election. Too bad they can't combine it with the APS school board & bond election in Feb!
Parade or no, I'm just glad the Shop & Stroll finally moved to a weekend. Having it spread out over the course of several hours (including warm daylight hours) was a much better idea.
And let's not forget to mention the weather. I saw plenty of people out in short sleeves during the day, and the temperature was still in the 60s during the parade.
I had a lot of fun, and in spite of the crowds I think the Parade and the S&S both draw different crowds, so I think it was beneficial for both. Speaking for myself, I've only ever been to the parade once, and I probably wouldn't have gone had it not been part of the S&S.
Let's only hope the weather isn't as nice and warm next year. Temps in the 60s in the first week of December are a bad, bad thing. If you care about the future of the planet, that is.
Godawful, for sure. But for now I'm just enjoying the ability to have the top down on my convertible Hummer on my way to Walmart to buy a bunch of plastic stuff I don't need.
By the way, my folks in Cleveland say that other than a light dusting, they haven't had any snow at all this year. Spooky, man.