A llghted float makes its way down River Road North in December 2015. This year’s parade is already on track to be bigger than last year. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald0

A llghted float makes its way down River Road North in December 2015. This year’s parade is already on track to be bigger than last year. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald0

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

With a little over a week before the cut-off date, the Keizer Holiday Lights Parade is ahead of where its predecessor was at this time last year.

“Right now, we have more than 30 entries and there were only 28 in the parade last year,” said Danielle Bethell, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, which announced it would take on the parade as an annual event in September.

Bethell gave the Keizer City Council an update on planning efforts at its meeting Monday, Nov. 7.

Those hoping to enter a float into the parade have until Wednesday, Nov. 23, to do so. Prices for entry into the parade are the same as those for the Iris Festival parade: $35 for non-profits, civic organizations, military organizations and per car for auto clubs; $100 for a commercial entry from Chamber members and political groups/candidates; and $200 for non-member commercial entries. Entries must be received at the Keizer Chamber office, 6150 Ulali Drive N.E. The parade will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.

Businesses can sponsor a band with a $1,000. Premier supporting sponsorships are available for $3,000. Bronze sponsorships are available for $500.
In addition to the parade itself, Bethell and members of the Chamber are enlisting local businesses to add to the festivities.

“Members and students in McNary’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) scoured River Road handing out fliers and the bulk of those businesses asked how they could get involved,” Bethell said.

A handful of businesses are planning to stay open later while others are hosting hot cocoa stations along the route.

“We are also partnering with the Salem Food Truck Association to have food trucks set up along the route,” she said.

Care is being taken to find food trucks that would not compete with nearby Keizer businesses, she added. Churches that traditionally hand out cocoa and treats on the evening of the parade are also working with Chamber officials to spread out more along the parade route. In years past, most of the activities have centered around the intersection of River Road North and Chemawa Road Northeast.

“We want to have as many people as possible involved, but we also want it to be very organized,” Bethell said.