Residents and visitors alike gathered in the West End for the fifth annual Long Beach Electric Light Parade on Saturday.
People lined West Beech Street as antique cars, fire trucks, floats and bicycles decorated in festive holiday lights made their way down the parade route from Ohio to New York avenues.
Local businesses served free hot chocolate along the route and offered specials for the night. Parade chairman Jamie Lynch said the parade started out as a holiday event intended to support local businesses after they suffered through Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The parade — which is a collaborative effort between the city, the Chamber of Commerce and the Parks and Recreation Department — continues strong as a way to revitalize the West End during the cold months.
“The amount of time, effort and energy that went into building some of these floats was more than last year,” parade chairman James Lych said. “We haven’t seen floats like this ever. Some people spent thousands of dollars creating their float.”
More than 80 participants joined in the festivities, he said, including local organizations, bands and individual classic cars.
This was the first year the parade featured a horse and carriage, Lynch said, adding that next year there will be more additions to change it up and make the celebration more festive.
Lynch thanked everyone who helped organize the parade, including the Parks and Recreation Department, the Long Beach Fire Department, local businesses and sponsors Pam Air-Conditioning, Petrey Real Estate and Peknic, Peknic, & Schaefer LLC.