Holidays in the Park offers Hallmark-like event

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

Once again, Lebanites and, perhaps, surrounding area neighbors gathered downtown along Main Street to witness the annual Holidays in the Park Twilight Parade and Tree Lighting on Saturday, Dec. 2. This year’s theme was “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”

Alice Bussell runs around her umbrella while waiting for the parade to begin.

While waiting for the parade to begin, 3-year-old Alice Bussell used her pink umbrella as a canopy while she skipped down the sidewalk, then set it on the ground so she could run around it. The threat of rain brought out a small handful of umbrellas, but they were hardly needed as the evening was much like every year prior: chilly with a little bit of a light, misty shower.

Helen Rounsavell was found crocheting a colorful afghan while watching the parade and kids were seen covering their ears as large trucks honked their horns. As Santa made his way through Ralston Park, kids stretched out their arms for a hug, and 3-week-old Elliott Bowen got his first photo with the jolly ol’ man. Even Mrs. Claus was invited to embrace the little children and take photos with them.

Santa Claus takes a look at one of his newest fans, 3-week-old Elliott Bowen, who met the Christmas icon for the first time.

Keirra Noble sang “O Christmas Tree” prior to the lighting of the tree. Pacific Power employees, Santa Claus and Mayor Ken Jackola flipped the candy-striped switch that lit up the park and the 95-foot cedar tree. Santa then moved to his Santa House where kids lined up for an opportunity to meet the beloved icon.

The scene at Ralston Park was like a Hallmark movie. Families looked at the Christmas decorations, hot chocolate loaded with whipped cream was passed out, vendors sold food, and bright, colorful lights lit up the night while entertainers sang and danced under the gazebo.

Winners for the park decorations are: Best Use of Theme: Turn & Burn Painting; Best Use of Lights: Willamette Manor. Winners for the parade are: Best Use of Lights: S and F Scenerios, Ralph Kleinschmidt; Mayor’s Choice: Willow Dancers; Best Use of Theme: Cascade School; Santa’s Choice: Rogers Towing.