The night was cold, but the people sure were warm. People began filing in and by 5:30 PM the streets were packed with visitors waiting to watch the first inaugural Merry and Bright Parade. Soon, the flashing lights of the firetruck at the head of the parade were visible and the spectators focused in to watch the floats as they made their way down Division. Once the vehicles parked, Santa stepped off his twinkling chariot and went over to the tree community Christmas tree for the lighting of downtown. The sounds of the community counting down could be heard throughout the town. The lights came on and Shop Sparta was in full swing. With vendors and new retail opportunity available, many were getting into the giving spirit as they shopped for gifts to give to those special people in their lives. Visitors young and old gathered around the Sparta fire pits to warm their hands and roast marshmallows. As the time drew closer to 7, the shoppers joined the others at the fire pits as everyone waited in anticipation for the fireworks to start. Once the show started, no one could keep their excitement contained. With each firework that went off, soon followed were “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience. As the people cleared out and the excitement withered, what remained was a holiday spirit and memories of a night that would live on.