Madera, CA. – While the typical mental images evoked by Christmas generally involve snow covered homes, horse drawn sleighs and other Rockwellian icons, the agrarian culture of Madera County has created its own Christmas vision that works quite well for this community.
Madera was founded in 1876 by the California Lumber Company. While the logging in the nearby Sierra Nevada was a huge industry for the fledgling town, it soon grew into an agricultural giant, as the fertile lands around the city now grow much of the nation’s produce.
The agricultural lifestyle that is still a part of Madera’s culture has given rise to a popular Christmastime event, the annual Tractor Parade of Lights. Taking place this year on Dec. 5, the Tractor Parade is now open to any vehicle, as long as it is decorated with at least 100 Christmas lights.
“They really get creative,” said event coordinator Jerry Noblett, in reference to the entrants. “We have farmers who have decorated tomato harvesters and have them in the parade,” he said. “They were huge.”
Noblett said the entries range from tractors and other farm vehicles to classic cars and even children’s electric cars. “It gets pretty wild in terms of what they can do with the lights,” he said.
In addition to the Tractor Parade, adults can enjoy the Wine Stroll. Local businesses in the downtown area sell wine glasses for $10, and those glasses are good for samples from regional wineries that will be on hand at the participating businesses. For those who would prefer something warmer, hot beverage mugs are available for $6.
While the event is popular with locals in Madera and throughout Madera County, it has also become a popular holiday stop for visitors looking for unique events and festivals. “It’s a lot of fun and definitely one of the signature events in the county,” said Dan Cunning, CEO of the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau.
Many lodging properties throughout Madera and beyond are offering various discounts for the holiday season. For more lodging information, contact the YSVB at (559) 683-4636, online at www.YosemiteThisYear.com, or www.facebook.com/yosemitesierra.