Click photo to enlarge
Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Prizes were awarded to a dozen of the 16 participants in the annual Al Gray Memorial Lighted Truck Parade in Fortuna, held Dec. 13.

Best Use of Lights and $40 in Fortuna bucks was awarded to Humboldt Auto Transport's Kurwitz family and friends. Most Original and $40 in Fortuna bucks was awarded to the Girlie Girls entry, and Most Spirited and $40 in Fortuna bucks was awarded to Fortuna 4-H. Fortuna bucks can be used to purchase goods and services from a multitude of Fortuna businesses.

The Kurwitz family and friends have been participating in the local lighted parades in both Fortuna and Eureka for at least 13 years. According to Dawnell Kurwitz, preparation for the float begins the day after Thanksgiving and continues right up to when the Fortuna parade begins.

”We have huge support from Kurwitz Construction,” she said, “which provides the generators that supply power to the 25,000 lights we use. They also help build the rails and with decorating.”

For the Saturday night parade in Eureka, the Kurwitz entry features a local Girl Scout troop.

Parade Coordinator Debby Tucker, owner of Country Rose in Fortuna, said there were several new participants this year.

”This is a great event for Fortuna,” Tucker said. “I want to see it grow and be as fantastic as any other lighted parade in the community!”

Nine judges also picked their favorite entries and each was presented with $20 in Fortuna bucks.

On behalf of the city of Fortuna, City Manager Regan Candelario selected Fisch Drilling to receive an award. The Fortuna Police Department award, selected by Fortuna Police Chief Bill Doberstein, was given to Eel River Resource Recovery. Leland Tomasini received an award after being selected by Erica Thompson as the Fortuna Business Improvement District winner.

The Fortuna Downtown Association selected (the Grinch) Nathan Kurwitz, driving a Eureka Towing entry, to receive an award, and Humboldt Towing received an award from judge Sara Overholt on behalf of the Strongs Creek Plaza merchants.

Larry & Cassandra Doss, pulling a lighted Cinderella carriage, were the winners of the award from Lindy Anderson on behalf of the Redwood Village Shopping Center, and Fortuna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erin Dunn gave her award to the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department.

New Life Christian School received the award from Fortuna Mayor Doug Strehl, and last but certainly not least, Bear River Casino was the Kids Choice, selected by students from Redwood Prep Charter School in Fortuna.

Tucker said she hopes to get more entries next year, and also wanted to thanks everyone who helped with planning the event. “I had such a great time helping plan this year's event,” Tucker said, “but could not have pulled it off without the lovely ladies from Snip! Hair Salon, and Lindy Anderson from Advance America. They did a fantastic job for the parade,” she added.

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Ken Kurwitz is all smiles driving in the Al Gray Memorial Lighted truck parade in Fortuna. The Kurwitz family and friends entry won the award for best use of lights.