Sunday March 9, 2014
Festival of Lights Parade and Tree Lighting Kick Off Salem Oregon Holiday SeasonLela Taylor, Salem-News.com
Two Holiday Season events bond together for the first time with the Comcast and City of Salem Holiday tree lighting at River Front Park and the PGE/Salem Festival of Lights Parade.
(Salem) - The yearly event started at Riverfront Park where a crowd of people came together under the gazebo and listened to the music from the South Salem High School Jazz Ensemble. Others milled around outside the gazebo and drank hot chocolate and ate cookies provided by Roth’s Vista Market. Members of the South Salem Rotary Club hosted the refreshment booth.
Mayor Janet Taylor opened the event and a brief history of the tree lighting ceremony was given, began ten years ago. She was proud to be at the event and wished everyone a great time.
There were kids playing, running, skipping, and laughing. They were in anticipation of the tree coming alive with lights.
When asked what she liked the most, one little girl replied with, “I like the music!” Her little sister looked up with big brown eyes, nodding her head in agreement. On this cool but very calm night, some parents and their children stayed near the tree so to be the closest to view the lights as they suddenly flashed on bringing a new colorful life to the big green tree. Afterwards, they would move on to find a comfortable place to watch the parade.
At the parade route, people were lining up early. A lady walking her dog named Danny, said she came early to miss the hectic time of finding a convenient parking place. Walking over to the Chemeketa Parkade area on Commercial Street, I found several people who had already snuggled down in their chairs claiming their spot to enjoy the floats, cars, bands and all the other entries donned with wonderful lights soon to be passing by.
Quickly the sidewalks began to fill up; the walkover between Penny’s and Liberty Mall was soon filled with people, and restaurants began having all their window tables taken. Thai Orchid Restaurant patrons had reserved their table over looking the parade route from the second floor a month ago. Great place for a glass of wine, eat dinner, and to watch from above! The best view, by far though, was right on the street side. I think this crowd was the largest ever thanks to the great weather Mother Nature decided to bestow upon us. As the parade ended and the people began walking quickly to their cars one could sense the anticipation for the next two weeks when Christmas would be here and then the downhill slide towards another New Year!
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