By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The Festival of Lights Parade will light up River Road for the very first time on Saturday, December 10, and its organizers are seeking sponsors.

The route will follow the same as the Iris Festival Parade: Starting at Lockhaven Drive NE and traveling the length of River Road until it reaches Glynbrook Street.

The Keizer City Council has pledged in-kind sponsorship for the event, which will raise funds and supplies for Marion-Polk Food Share. That will include providing street barricades and security, waiving permit fees and donating use of the civic center for a pre-parade sponsor and VIP event.

“You have a beautiful community center so we thought this would be a really great hospitality area for sponsors,” said Cheryl Mitchell, chief executive officer of the parade.

Parade volunteers will clean up after themselves, Mitchell said, meaning the city shouldn’t have to hire cleaning staff. Hard costs to the city, including renting barricades and police overtime, costs about $1,700 for the Iris parade, city staff said.

The parade group is also offering varying levels of sponsorship and particularly want to see River Road businesses involved, Mitchell said.

“Our whole goal with this event is to become a regional draw,” she added.