10,000 turn out for Merrysville for the Holidays (slide show)

MARYSVILLE – The Merrysville for the Holidays event last Saturday drew an estimated 10,000 spectators, twice the amount that usually shows up.

“There’s way too many people here” in a good way, parks director Jim Ballew said he was told by police and fire officials that night.

After the Electric Lights Parade, Ballew said three times the normal amount congregated at Comeford Park for the lighting of the Water Tower and other activities.

“It was so thick people couldn’t get to the center of the park” to watch, he added. City parks director Jim Ballew attributed it Tuesday to the great weather and promotional efforts beforehand. Readerboards around town and especially the city website and Facebook page, which can get up to 100,000 hits.

He added the crowd was diverse, with many hispanics and Slaviks.

“That’s something we have to pay attention to” he said of the city’s diversity.

As for the parade itself, there were 35 entries, including one from the parks department for the first time.

“We wanted to make an impression for the 30th anniversary” of the event, Ballew said, adding the Easter bunny was probably the most memorable part of their float.

Public Works also did an impressive job lighting their big trucks.

“Kids love those even without the lights,” he said.

The Marysville School District also got involved with a well-lighted school bus with a giant, inflatable tree tied to its top.

Ballew said all of the entries seemed to be lit up more than usual, from the marching bands from Marysville-Pilchuck and Marysville Getchell high schools to the Scouts to the vintage cars.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Jon Nehring said it was the biggest crowd he had seen at the event.

“It was a fantastic night,” Nehring said, adding Ballew had to work on his birthday.

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