Flora Gibson photo/file
A magical float full of lights rolls through town during the Starlight Parade in 2015.
As of Thursday, November 16, 2017
It’s officially time to shop ... almost. Mark Friday, Nov. 24, on your calendars, because that is the day the community is being invited to celebrate the start of the Christmas holiday season.
On the day after Thanksgiving, the 28th annual “Starlight Parade & Tree Lighting Celebration,” sponsored by The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce, takes place in the downtown business district. This year’s parade theme is “Once Upon a Winter Wonderland.”
The parade will feature Christmas music, marching bands, and riders on horseback with The Dalles Riders Association and the Wasco County Sheriff's Mounted Posse among the early entries. And children will get to watch Santa’s sleigh roll through the streets of The Dalles.
“The Starlight Parade and community tree lighting create the magic that begins our holiday season,” said Lisa Farquharson, president and CEO of the chamber. “Watching the kids’ expressions as they see the floats all decorated with lights and music is priceless.”
Mayor Steve Lawrence said the seasonal event is an important tradition in The Dalles.
“The Starlight Parade and tree lighting has always been the big kickoff to the holiday season,” said Lawrence. “The citizens enjoy it, and I plan to be there.”
The cavalcade of holiday floats, marchers and riders will get started at 6 p.m., at the corner of West Sixth and Webber Street. From there, the procession will head east through the downtown area on Sixth Street (which becomes West Third through downtown), then left on Madison, then left on West Second Street.
The parade ends in front of The Dalles Chamber of Commerce office, at 404 West Second Street, where hot cocoa will be waiting and carols will be sung.
After the parade wraps up at around 7 p.m., the annual tree lighting ceremony will take place outside the chamber building. Santa Claus will be on hand to welcome local residents, and pose for photos with youngsters.
“This year, we are also planning on a special flag-raising before we turn on the lights for the tree,” Farquharson said.
According to Farquharson, attendance for the parade and the tree lighting has been growing over the years, and she hopes that trend continues with the 2017 festivities, regardless of what the weather brings..
“Our community comes out for this event in the cold, snow, or rain,” Farquharson said. “You really get to see our town all decked out and celebrating the fun, warmth, and the gift of giving.”
Area businesses are encouraged to enter a float in this year’s parade to showcase what they have to offer or just to have fun. Applications are available online at thedalleschamber.com, or by visiting the Chamber office on West Second. The deadline for parade applications is 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17.