By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The Keizer Holiday Lights Parade, for the first time being run by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, comes to Keizer at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.
“I think there was some uncertainty as to whether we’d be able to pull it off, but I feel like it’s already a success,” said Danielle Bethell, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. “Our whole board of directors became very invested in the parade and took of different aspects of it. The fact that it’s happening makes it a success.”
This year’s parade will feature 56 entries, about double the number that were included in the 2015 parade. The volunteer coordinators of the previous parade opted to retire in early 2016 and were unable to find replacements at the time. The Keizer Chamber stepped up in September to take on the mantle.
Bethell said she’s eagerly anticipating a Grinch-themed float being put together by Keizer’s Encompass Management & Consulting and a commode-themed entry sponsored by Ace Septic and Chemical Toilet.
“We are also putting a big focus on the sponsor banners. This year the banners will be lit up as well as the floats and I don’t think that’s happened in the past,” Bethell said.
The Keizer Holiday Lights Parade is sponsored by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, the City of Keizer and Bonaventure of Keizer Station.
In addition to the parade itself, Bethell and members of the Chamber are enlisting local businesses to add to the festivities.
Lakepoint Community Church will have four hot cocoa and candy cane locations; El Patron Mexican Grill will set up shop in the northwest corner of the Keizer Village parking lot; Willamette Valley Bank will be hosting a hot cocoa station in the bank and closed parking lot for parade spectators to set up chairs; a youth group from St. Edward Catholic Church will be serving up warm treats; and Tony’s Kingdom of Comics is hosting a toy drive at the shop, 3856 River Road N. Starbucks will stay open until 11 p.m.
“We are also partnering with the Salem Food Truck Association to have food trucks set up along the route,” Bethell said.
Care is being taken to find food trucks that would not compete with nearby Keizer businesses, she added.
Staging for the parade begins at 3:30 p.m. on Lockhaven Drive North between McClure Street N. and River Road.
The parade will start at the intersection of Lockhaven and River Road at 7 p.m. and travel south ending at Glynbrook Street North.
Bethell urged spectators to find spots north of Glynbrook for best viewing.
“As soon as the parade hits Glynbrook, we are going to be pulling floats off the route and we want everyone to get the full experience,” she said.
River Road will close at 6 p.m. to make way for the Chamber’s annual Jingle Dash, a 5K fun run, which begins at 6:15 p.m.
The run will begin at Town & Country Lanes.
Cost is $17 to $25 for youth, depending on the day of registration, and $27 to $37 for adults.
Registration can be complete online at keizerchamber.com.
Run participants are encouraged to dress up and compete for the best costume award. Cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa, and coffee will be waiting at the finish line.