The annual Festival of Lights Holiday Parade returns to Keizer for a third time on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. (File)

The annual Festival of Lights Holiday Parade returns to Keizer for a third time on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. (File)

Of the Keizertimes

A longtime area tradition has quickly become a Keizer tradition.

The annual Festival of Lights Holiday Parade started in Salem in 1990. The nighttime parade moved to Keizer for the 2011 holiday season, drawing an estimated crowd of 50,000 spectators.

This year’s parade down River Road takes place Saturday, Dec. 14 starting at 7 p.m.

Santa Claus will be returning once more, this time joined by Mrs. Claus. Radio Disney will have a presence before and during the parade, with the Agent P vehicle one of the entrants. Not to be outdone, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile will be cruising through Keizer that night as well.

“How doggone fun is this going to be for our community?” said Cheryl Mitchell, the parade organizer.

The parade is billed as the largest lighted holiday parade west of the Mississippi River.

The route has been extended slightly this year. Per usual, the parade goes southbound on River Road starting at Lockhaven Drive NE. The change comes at the end: the parade has been extended in length this year and now ends at the intersection of River Road and Plymouth Drive NE.

There are other related events on Dec. 14.

The Jingle Buck and Holly Doe Bowl is being held at Town and Country Lanes (3500 River Road N) from 4 to 5:45 p.m. The bowling starts before the parade and resumes after the parade concludes. KBZY will be doing a live radio broadcast in the afternoon and also after the parade, until 1 a.m.

From 6 to 7 p.m. is the Jingle Buck and Holly Doe Family Fun Run. This event starts at Weeks Road, goes to Chemawa Road and ends up back at Weeks Road. Radio Disney personnel will be providing tunes and encouraging people to dress as their favorite Disney character.

Runners can start checking in at 3 p.m. at Town and Country Lane to pick up event packets and t-shirts.

The Wienermobile will be at Town and Country from 3 to 4:40 p.m. before moving to the hospitality area for sponsors by Keizer Civic Center.

The deadline to enter the parade is Thursday, Dec. 5. To save your spot, visit More information about the parade is also on the website, including a map of the extended route.