Parade lights up holiday season

Staff photo by Tammy Malgesini A group sits on a decorated flatbed before the start of last yearÕs Festival of Lights Parade.

Grab some lights and get ready to brighten up Main Street in Hermiston. The Festival of Lights Parade will open the 12th annual Festival of Lights.

“It’s just a really nice kickoff for the holiday season,” said Peggy Clough, Umatilla County Fairgrounds manager. “It shows a real gathering of spirit for our community.”

Spike Piersol, parade coordinator, said the parade illuminates the coming of another season of the Festival of Lights.

“Anybody and everyone is welcome,” Piersol said. “They can dress up their dog like a reindeer, they can ride a horse — but everything has to be lighted.”

The parade will be held Friday, Nov. 26, beginning at 6 p.m. Staging will start at 5 p.m. at Newport Park, located at 515 E. Newport St., Hermiston. The parade will leave the park and head up Main Street, crossing over Highway 395 as it makes its way to the fairgrounds.

Last year, nearly a dozen golf carts from Big River Gold Course zigged and zagged along the parade group. Other entries featured Christmas scenes on a flatbed, cars draped with Christmas lights and horse-drawn carriages. In addition, festive holiday music filled the air.

Piersol said just about anything goes — except for Santa Claus. The fairgrounds designates a single entry to usher in the Jolly Ol’ Elf.

To register for the parade, pick up an application at the fairgrounds, 515 W. Orchard Ave., Hermiston, or go to www.co.umatilla.or.us/lights.htm and click on the link. For more information, contact 541-567-6121 or fair@umatilla county.net.

The Festival of Lights, which features lighted displays, horse-drawn carriage rides, pictures with Santa, a holiday craft bazaar and food booths, will start Nov. 26 and continue on Friday and Saturday nights from 5-9 p.m. and Sundays from 5-8 p.m. through Dec. 19, weather permitting. There is no admission charge, but donations will be accepted.

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