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August 23rd, 2019

2018 christmas parade drawing winnersParade drawing winners Donna Denoyer, Paula Porter and Herman Cordova stop for a photo after their names are announced Saturday night after the parade. All three expressed much happiness upon hearing their names called. L&T photo/Robert PierceELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The wind was whipping through Downtown Liberal Saturday, but did not diminish the spirits of those who had turned out for this year’s Christmas parade. 

“I was really impressed to see so many new floats and organizations participating this year, so that was great to see and they were really well lit and well put together and you could tell a lot of time and effort had been put into them, so I was really happy with that side of everything,” coordinator Earl Watt said. “And we can never predict what the weather around here will do but the wind whipping through downtown, we knew that would probably have an effect on the number of people in the crowd but a lot of people still braved all that and watched everyone who came through. It was also great how we got our drawing winners of the $7,000 worth of prizes in the first three names drawn, that very rarely happens with this. We were going through a bit of a transition with different people in different places this year and now they've got a year of experience under their belt and we're definitely thinking next year, we're going to grow thanks to what we learned from this year and really use it as a catalyst to make next year bigger and better.”

$7,000 in prizes was given away Saturday evening immediately following the parade, with the three winners being local citizens Donna Denoyer, Herman Cordova and Paula Porter, all of whom were excited to get their names drawn. 

“It's really awesome. I've been coming to this parade since it started and this is the first time I've ever won anything,” Cordova said. “I looked at my wife and asked her 'Was that MY name they just said?' and she said 'Yeah it was, go up there!' and it was great.”

“I just feel truly blessed, this is my first time winning something, so I'm truly blessed and want to thank God,” Porter said. “I full-out screamed and jumped, I was really happy. I had some friends and family standing by me and it was just amazing.”

“I'm grateful and blessed, they really said it all. It's so awesome this happened and it's great,” Denoyer said. “I was half-dazed and was wondering the same thing and a couple friends who were standing by me said 'That's YOU!' and it was really neat.” 

Porter, Cordova and Denoyer were all first-time winners and all three talked about what made them decide to enter for this year. Porter entered her name at Kids Zone, Denoyer entered her name at several of the spots and Cordova entered his name at I.T. Guru Tech. 

“I'd gotten a phone call from my niece and she told me the registration was there that day and I put my name in along with hers,” Porter said. “I didn't know anything about it until she called me and right now I'm glad I listened to her. And then when I put my name in my friend Tameka Clark touched my hand and said I'd win, and then it actually happened.”

“My wife told me to go down and register and I did,” Cordova said with a laugh. “We'd actually had some work done with I.T. Guru Tech and I did it when we went to the shop to pick up our stuff.”

“I typically put my name in everywhere I could any time I could and I actually won this year, so it's great,” Denoyer said. “I typically put my name in the majority of the places where you can register every year.”

Watt added the sponsors are a big help with the parade each year. 

“For the sponsors to come up with $7,000 in prizes this year, that's amazing. Everyone who won came away with something great in their prize packages, so what a great way to start the season, to already have all that in prizes just like that,” Watt said. “They were happy and having the Cinco de Mayo Queen Amy Zeledon helping us was great, she did a great job and she helped give away tiaras for some lucky little Christmas princesses and there'll be more of those to come. That was a great addition that just came out of the blue and there were a lot of little girls who came up for that and it was really neat.”

All three also offered encouragement for people in the community to put their names in for the drawing for future parades. 

“If you don't put your name in, you won't win anything,” Denoyer said. “And yeah, it's possible for you to put in your name and not win, but at least you know you tried. Overall, I'm very grateful and happy this happened, it was awesome. Some of the gift certificates are for places and shops I haven't ever visited so it'll be great going into those places and checking them out.”

“We come every year because my mother-in-law won a car from the parade one year and we've been coming each year, and her win is our motivation for putting our names in,” Cordova added. 

“From my experience, just do it because you never know, just put your name in,” Porter said. “It might not have been lucky for you this year, but maybe next year will be your year, so keep going and keep trying, you never know. I didn't think my name would get picked and look what happened.”

And the winners are not the only ones thinking about next year. Watt said the community should expect next year’s parade to be bigger and better and added praise for everyone who helped with this year. 

“One thing we're going to do better next year is we're going to make more direct contact with groups and organizations and encourage them to participate,” Watt said. “We'd love to see all of our local clubs and civic clubs and student groups and churches have a presence. We're going to be doing more that direct contact and letting them know they're welcome to participate. From the commercial side, there's no cost for anyone to put in a float that night and promote either themselves or their business and be seen by a lot of people. Even though I was more than happy with everyone we had in the parade this year, we're going to do more direct recruitment per se and we're going to start making sure there's more direct invitations and more direct contact instead of just a big general 'Everyone can put in a float!’ We want to thank the City of Liberal for providing traffic control with the Liberal Police Department, everything went off without any problems on that end and everything went great. We also want to thank all the sponsors who provided prizes and everything. This is what it's all about and if you want to have things like this, you have to support the local community and shop Liberal. If you don't do that, there's no parades or anything like that, so as a gift to the community, shop Liberal and help make it better for everyone.”

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