Employees of Simkins Trucking in Bloomfield work on a float in December 2011 for the Bloomfield Christmas parade.
Employees of Simkins Trucking in Bloomfield work on a float in December 2011 for the Bloomfield Christmas parade. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

BLOOMFIELD — This year, Santa will be decked out in Bobcat blue and gold.

Tonight, the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce hosts the city's annual lighted Christmas parade, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Two dozen or more floats, cars, trucks and other stand-ins for Santa's sleigh will line up at 5:30 p.m. at Bloomfield High School's football field parking lot, 520 N. First St., on the south end of the campus.

The parade's theme this year, "A Bobcat Christmas," is a nod to the high school's beloved mascot.

But even the Christmas parade, with Mayor Scott Eckstein in tow, could not do anything about the ongoing construction work clogging traffic at the intersection of U.S. Highways 64 and 550.

"Because of the construction work, the parade route will come up Sycamore Street, turning right on First Street, turning left on Blanco Boulevard, left on Fifth Street, ending up at Salmon Park," said Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Amy Garcia. "This is the first time we've had to change the parade route."

Bloomfield Citizen of the Year and the parade's grand marshal Dale Maes, owner of DJ's Pizza, will ride along with the mayor and throw the switch to illuminate Salmon Park at the conclusion of the parade.

Parade entrants will be judged by members of the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, including Janet Mackey, the chamber's board president.

"Judging of the floats will be in two categories, for businesses and nonprofits," Mackey said. " We will be basing winners on creativity and the use of lights. Everybody loves the use of lights at Christmas time."

Salmon Park will be aglow in seasonal splendor, courtesy of more than half a million lights. A display along the San Juan River evoking the 12 days of Christmas will illuminate the Riverwalk, Mackey said.

The official lighting of the Celebration of Lights displays follows the parade and will remain at Salmon Park through Jan. 2.

For more information, call the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce at 505-632-0880.

James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.