An unusually short procession was in line for all ghosts, goblins and ghouls at Friday nights annual Snowdown Light Parade.
Ghoulishness aside, the economy is to blame for the shrinkage of Durangos biggest parade of the year, cut in both size and length, said Ken Anderson, who has been lead judge of the competition for the last nine years.
With enthusiastic attendees stretching into the mid-thousands, the parade featured 47 floats, far below its usual 60, Anderson said.
I think were just going along with the general trend of the economy, he said. It costs a lot for a business to participate. People have to allow employees time to do their floats, and they just dont have the resources and manpower to do that right now.
The cold weather and the drop in participation didnt seem to put a chill on the crowd. Spectators of all ages lined the parade route, in places several people deep.
The parade typically lasts well more than an hour, but this years Snowdown Bites monster-themed parade had a total run-time of about 45 minutes.
Event coordinator Tim Cooney said the number of floats in last years parade was somewhere in the mid-50s.
Several businesses that participated in the float competition last year couldnt afford to this time around, Cooney said.
I know of five floats that did it last year that didnt do it this year, he said. They couldnt devote the time and money.
Healthy Hounds and Fat Cats owner LeeAnn Craig said that she paid an employee her hourly wage to assemble their big black cat float.
Part of the reason we do this is so that people will recognize our name, Craig said.
First National Bank, whose Thriller-themed float was led by an army of dancing zombies, also paid employees to build float, a practice typical of almost all participating businesses.
Its a tradition, and its a way for us to help support the community, said Moni Grushkin, the banks senior vice president.
Fewer floats means fewer prize categories, Anderson said. Mayors Choice, Sweepstakes and three for Best Theme are all that remain for trophy-eyed competitors.
Weve always had 14 prize categories, he said. This year, weve only got five.
With the temperature just below freezing, bundled-up beasts set aside any economic woes to enjoy the festivities.
Veteran Snowdowner Petie Jenkins of Bayfield said she is still running strong, with this year marking her 16th parade.
The theme is wonderful, the people are so creative and you can just feel the energy here, she said. Its wonderful.
All 11 members of the Sandner family have created a Snowdown tradition of their own, Gary Sandner said.
Although some members of the Durango family sometimes participate in the parade, this year they spent the evening together standing on the sidelines.
The costumes are great, Sandner said. And there are a lot of family events this year, which is a huge plus.