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Watch: Community celebration was a big hit, despite the rain

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HARTINGTON - It was the 18th Annual Candlelight Christmas on Friday night, and this year’s theme was a throwback to 1989 with the Griswold family.

Yes, the theme was National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and the theme could be seen throughout the parade that night.

“There were some pretty cool ones I thought,” said parade director Dave Chang. “Some just did their basic Christmas theme, but there were a few that actually went with the theme. There was the Griswold’s car, and the squirrel and the cat, and some really went all out which is great.”

It was Chang’s fifth year running the parade that featured 51 floats. The previous year held the record for floats in the parade with 62.

Before the parade, people walked around downtown Hartington, stopping into all of the various shops and stores that featured Open Houses, often with treats.

“I try to hit every business downtown the night of Candlelight Christmas, even if just for a minute,” said Chamber of Commerce President Karma Schulte.

There were also some businesses that held events during the day, like Cedar Knox Public Power District. On the western side of town on Hwy 84, CKPPD hosted visitors during the afternoon hours and had a special attraction that was dropped off by the Nebraska Public Power District. A 2018 Chevy Bolt-EV that guests could ride in.

The all-electric vehicle sparked some interest, and one of the CKPPD employees said that all-electric trucks are reportedly coming in 2020 and that the Chevy Bolt-EV convinced him to consider one as a possibility. The CKPPD employees drove the vehicle on the test drives for the guest’s and it was easy to see that these cars have plenty of power, and can reportedly drive as far as 250 miles on a single charge.

The electric car was featured in the parade that had children and adults of all ages lined up and down Broadway Avenue, despite a pesky rain that began along with the parade. It did not deter many from enjoying the festivities though.

“Out of the 18 years we have only had two years where we had really bad weather and had to postpone,” said Schulte. “We have had a few really cold nights, sometimes there is snow on the ground, but it doesn’t seem to affect the crowd much. They come out and can tuck into businesses to warm up and look around at things then come out for the parade.”

Candy was thrown, snacks were had, gifts were purchased, and the countdown to Christmas has officially begun in Hartington.