If you are from the Midwest or the eastern part of the country and you're reading this, I imagine that you have been bundled under layers and dreading the electric and gas bills that will be following this month. Well as a Wyoming resident, my deepest sympathies go out to you. Just two weeks ago my family and friends that live east of the Mississippi were all feeling so bad for us Wyomingites with our temperatures below zero and even worse for us on the mountain: 3,000 feet higher and 10 degrees lower. Now, I'm afraid, we have pushed the chill your way. But here in the west, we don't let threats of frostbite stop our Christmas spirit! Despite the thermometer needles making obtuse angles from the zero marker, we bridled up our draft horses and prepared for the annual Buffalo Christmas parade.
We partner with two other Buffalo businesses to create a masterpiece float every year and the 2013 parade's Christmas movie theme brought many creative options to our brainstorming meeting with Sport's Lure and Clear Creek Printers. We decided on the “The Grinch”. Other preparation included multiple practice sessions with Betty and Beauty, our gorgeous sister Belgian Draft horses. Three months is a little too long of a vacation for our horses to jump right back into hard work so the guys practiced driving them while pulling the wagon that was soon to transform into Whoville.
With three pairs of pants, eight shirts, three pairs of socks, hats, mittens, hand warmers, travel mugs of hot coco, and a partridge in a pear tree, we headed down the mountain for a night full of numbed fingers and tons of fun. When I saw my handy weather app on my phone say “feels like -28” I truly figured that we were in for a night of shivers and no fun at all, however I was quickly proven wrong as I watched the whole town come together to create a spectacular holiday event.
Paradise is fortunate enough to have had multiple seasonal staff stick around the area for the winter, so we had plenty of volunteers to help put together the float, help get the horses ready, decorate, and star as characters! Jordan, who was our head of housekeeping for the 2013 season, was our brave soul who starred as the Grinch. Eryn was our adorable Cindy-lou and the famous Jake, Clay's yellow lab, played Max accompanied by Courtney. These brave staff members definitely deserve some praise for their costumes, as they actually looked like characters. I, on the other hand, was originally supposed to ride the float as a fellow Who from Who-ville, however was so bundled that it was difficult to decipher if I was a Who or just a huge pile of laundry with a nose. I actually fit in much better with the “A Christmas Story” float as the little brother who had so many layer he couldn't keep his arms down. So thank you for stepping up girls! Not only did our people shine, Jake was the star of the show as he snuggled next to Courtney with his antler strapped to his head. Despite the ice, the cold, all the cars, other horses and hundreds of other distractions, Betty and Beauty were amazing!
Buffalo always has that distinct small-town-charm, but at times like these, that charm turns into family love. Once the parade started, I didn't even think about the chilling air on my nose (yes, partly because I had lost all feeling in it). The twinkle lights from the floats and the beautiful wreaths that decorate the street lights were enchanting, and the smiles that sat between rosy cheeks of little ones waving to our adorable one-horned Jake warmed my heart. As much as 35 degrees would have been nice for this year's parade, we made some amazing memories with the laughs, huddles, fun costumes and frozen eye lashes.