The snow was about a foot deep and the wind chill was about zero.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

Yet thousands of people -- with children seeming to make up half that number -- thronged downtown Casper for the annual tree lighting and Christmas parade on Saturday.

Scores skated around the massive tree in the middle of the rink at the David Street, with Rachel Sabrosky practicing some moves and jumps.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dozens of shops stayed open for the events, and their store fronts lit up the streets almost as much as the holiday lighting on the trees.

The parade started at Ash Street and went due east to Beech Street.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

Police cars with lights flashing were followed by the Kelly Walsh High School Marine ROTC, floats advertising businesses, a few antique vehicles, dogs -- lots of dogs being walked by their owners and a couple trotting on treadmills on top of a pickup -- and a church reminding the crowds whose birth -- "Jesus - sweetest name I know" -- 2000 years ago was responsible for all the hoopla now.

Several floats boasted battery-busting and generator-thumping displays of lights. Kenny Electric did the most dazzling, with K-9 Corral and Jason's Friends Foundation giving it a run for the voltage.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

As a public service, local law enforcement and civic organizations assembled a float featuring a jail with bars wrapped in candy-cane red-and-white stripes confining an improbable human-sized ballooned yellow M&M.

Although the M&M was smiling, the banner touted the holiday season's anti-drunk-driving campaign, "You can't candy-coat a DUI." If that didn't get the message through, the back side of the float simply said, "jail."

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