By Joanne Niswander
I know, there's nothing quite comparable to Bluffton's "Blaze of Lights," but I have to share what I experienced this year on the same weekend of our "Blaze."
It was Carlsbad, New Mexico's "Christmas on the Pecos." For starters, let's set the scene. Carlsbad is way down in the southeast corner of New Mexico, in the high desert.
Water is precious there, and the Pecos River that runs through the center of the city is a vital part of the landscape. So the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce has taken advantage of that natural resource to create a drawing card for visitors during the Holidays.
"Christmas on the Pecos" started 19 years ago, when the homeowners who lived along the river were invited to decorate their lawns along the riverside. Boats were hired to take sight-seers to view the lighted decorations. A new tradition was born.
Well, you can imagine that, after 19 years, the decorations have gotten pretty spectacular. They range from back-lit palm trees to elaborate manger scenes, from every kind of inflatable to home-made cutouts. And there are lights - thousands of colored lights - that brighten the sky and make for quite a sight up and down the river.
Our river transportation was a medium-sized riverboat that held close to 50 people. We were given blankets before we got on board, since it can get a little chilly out on the river at night. Our happy "captain" at the wheel provided us with tidbits of information, as well as occasional corny jokes, throughout the almost-an-hour trip.It was definitely a memorable evening.
A great way to start out the holiday season, especially if you don't happen to be in Bluffton on Thanksgiving weekend.
(Incidentally, if you'd like to see pictures, or learn more about "Christmas on the Pecos," you can find more information on the Carlsbad website - Google will take you there whenever you wish