A lawn ornament with criminal implications. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Miracle of Christmas lighting display will again have the Gubser neighborhood awash in the glow of holiday cheer and, of course, lots and lots of lights.

The tradition, which raises money and food for the Marion-Polk Food Share, draws eyes from around the region.

The display begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7. Cars will be roaming the neighborhood from 6 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 26. It’s expected that nearly 20,000 vehicles will pass through the neighborhood.

There’s no admission fee, but as the event is a fundraiser for hungry families in the mid-Willamette Valley, donations are always welcome. Cans and non-perishable food donations along with cash are welcomed. A donation site will be set up on Meadowlark Drive Northeast.  The 2011 drive raised $17,381 and some 24,000 pounds of food.

The route is about 3.5 miles long, and can take several hours to complete on busy weekends. Barricades will mark the direction of the route.

Organizers remind attendees there are no public restrooms available, and visitors should keep their headlights on at all times while driving through. It is a residential neighborhood, so be aware and courteous to pedestrians and residents trying to get in and out of driveways.

In hope of curbing vandalism complaints, Keizer Police will step up their presence along the route during display hours.

“We’ve had some reports of display items being damaged or stolen and we want to deter that because it makes residents second-guess their participation,” said Brad Coy, vice president of the Gubser Neighborhood Association.

Visitors wishing to take photos in front of the displays are encouraged to stay on sidewalks and out of yards.

The display is also walkable, with sidewalks throughout the Gubser neighborhood. If you choose to walk it, park at either Whiteaker Middle School, 1605 Lockhaven Drive N.E. or at Gubser Elementary School, 6610 14th Avenue N.E.