For anyone looking for a festive holiday event the Friday evening after Thanksgiving, Pacific Power Regional Business Manager Alisa Dunlap says, “Go to Seaside.”
At 7 p.m., Nov. 23, a Parade of Lights — featuring spectacular floats, brightly lit vehicles, and groups of people embellished with lights or carrying glow sticks — will wind through downtown Seaside in what Chamber of Commerce Director Brian Owen describes as a “community gathering.”
The annual Parade of Lights, sponsored by Pacific Power, is free to the public, and anyone can participate.
The route takes off from Necanicum Drive at First Avenue and moves to Holladay Drive. From there, the parade will advance west on Broadway to Pocket Park, west of the Seaside Carousel Mall, where revelers can enjoy hot cocoa, cider and cookies while singing carols and watching the lighting of the community Christmas tree. As soon as he finishes the parade route, Santa Claus will be available to meet with children and get pictures.
“With Santa Claus and the lighting of the tree and the caroling and the parade all in one, it’s one of the most energetic, romantic events Seaside puts on,” Owen said. “We really encourage everybody to be a part of this program.”
As a member of all the regional Chambers of Commerce, Dunlap said, Pacific Power serves as the signature sponsor for at least one community event for each. The company works with the chambers to select what that event should be.
“Given that it’s the Parade of Lights, and we’re a power company, we thought it was a good synergy to participate as the signature sponsor,” Dunlap said.
Owen added, “They really have a great history of making sure this parade happens for everybody.”
Pacific Power also has a float in the parade that tends to be one of the most elaborate. The linemen and other staff members decorate the company’s truck for the parade.
Shelly Saunders, the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District’s Youth Programs Manager, has had the privilege of lighting the Christmas tree the past two years.
“I feel it’s an honor to get to stand there and watch all the kids react when the tree is lit,” she said. “Young and old, everybody has a sense of wonder.”
The preschool she directs, The Learning Ladder, is also participating in the parade for the first time this year. The students will ride on the district’s bus, which will be decked out in a garland and other ornaments. According to Saunders, this will be a fitting experience for the students, as “the focus in the preschool has been about community and our place in it.”
In general, she added, the event encapsulates what to her is the essence of the holiday season — “family and being together.”
“There’s just a special magic to it,” she said. Having moved from a larger area four years ago and now being in a small town, she added, “it really is wonderful to see how strong this community is, and it’s amazing to see all these folks come out the day after Thanksgiving and come together as a community.”
Parade participants should gather on Necanicum Drive at 6 p.m.
The Seaside Chamber of Commerce website provides a registration form, as well as lighting tips for parade entrants, encouraging them to consider using small portable generators or portable batteries for charging cars; to decorate wagons, bicycles, pets and themselves with battery-operated miniature lights; or to incorporate glow sticks. Spectators are also encouraged to light themselves and to respect the boundaries of the parade by staying out of the streets as a safety measure.
The Parade of Lights is part of the Yuletide in Seaside program, which includes the Seaside Artisan Fair from Friday to Sunday, Nov. 23 through 25, and Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24.
For more information, contact the chamber at 503-738-6391 or visit seasidechamber.com.