It’s officially Christmas lights season and their is nothing I look forward to more to get me in the Christmas spirit then the annual Rockwood Parade of Lights. This event has been running for 16 years and has been well attended and a lot of fun from the very beginning. It was started by a group of fun loving farmers from just north of Rockwood. They casually put together a parade of farm equipment decorated with Christmas lights and other festive decorations. Santa Clause himself soon heard of the event and had the elves decorate up his combine and drove it down for the night. Ever since, each December local farmers spend days washing and decorating tractors and implements, skid steers and teragators with thousands of Christmas lights, music and robotic snowmen.
Four years ago one of the limited spots in the parade opened up my uncle was asked if he wanted to participate and although he was hesitant to say yes, my family and his children didn’t give him the chance to say no, so for the past four years every December we have chosen a shiny new implement to decorate and cleaned up the big cab tractor, then spent hours neatly stringing lights along the tractor and machines.
The first year, we had just purchased a new haybine and as this isn’t one of the standard implements that are regularly in the perrade we decided it was our best implement. We hooked up an extra hydraulic motor to turn the rollers and pick up while on the parade and found as many battery operated lights as we had to wrap around the moving drum. We also wrapped the tractors hubs in tinsel and shown spotlights on them.
The second and third years we had two big new gravity wagons that we filled with bales and invited friends and family to ride in as living decorations. We also utilized an old trick of the parade taking curling irons apart to supply power to lights on th wheels so that the cables don’t get tangled. This year we also hooked up a large speaker system to play Christmas carols to the passengers and those along the parade route.
This year, my uncle has a shiny new round baler that still has its factory shine so we are planning on finding lots of nice lights to wrap around its large frame. This even is an annual tradition in the town and hundreds of people line the downtown streets to watch the colorful tractors role by with their cheery farmer drivers. Their are a few traditional fan favorites including the skid steer complete with fully decorated Christmas tree on top that spins and bounces its way down the street. For many years their was also a snow blower that was lit and spinning., the driver spent the entire parade driving backwards and looking over his shoulder. The most famous of the floats is always last, Santa and Mrs Clause riding along out on the head of the combine, waving to the crowds and Ho Ho Ho’ing complete with tons of lights and loudspeakers. This parade is a fantastic event and a great way to show off the pride and joy that are farmers have for their occupation and their communities.
This years parade is on December 10th, see you there!