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The Christmas season kicks off this Saturday in Prineville with three major attractions

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Lighted Christmas Parade is one of three events that draw a crowd, kick off the local Christmas season.

The Christmas season officially kicks off coming weekend, with the opening of the Grimes Family Christmas Scene, the Lighted Christmas Parade, and the Christmas in the Pines drive through lighted display at the Crook County Fairgrounds.

This weekend it's all about the lights and traditional Christmas festivities. Regardless of weather, there is sure to be something for everyone at these fun events.

Grimes Family Christmas Scene

The Grimes Family Christmas Scene, located at the Crook County Fairgrounds, is a collection of miniature houses, buildings and characters collected by Beth Callison Grimes.

Grimes' mother-in-law, Leatha, began the collection in 1937 and gave it to Grimes in 1959.

"I have been doing this for 60 years," Grimes said.

The Grimes Family Christmas Scene really began to grow when the family was able to move it to the fairgrounds and leave it set up. Every year, Grimes takes a section of her display down to refresh it. The one she worked on this year is the "Storybook World."

"We are dedicating it to the children in the school system. Those kids are so fabulous," Grimes said.

She added that every year, children come in with nickels, dimes and quarters. She always has a place for donations, although the display is free to the public.

"Occasionally we will get this crumpled up dollar bill," she said.

She uses the children's donations to buy something special for them.

"This year, we are going to dedicate all of the books to the children," she said. "I've completely redone that whole section. That's for the kids."

Grimes also receives donations from the community, and she places them into her collection so they can be displayed.

"I go around and take out things I have personally purchased, and I will set them aside so that I can incorporate all of these things that have been donated to me," she explained.

She wants to make sure the donors can spot the pieces that have special meaning to them, even if she can't keep them together as a specific collection.

Times for the Grimes Christmas Display

Begins Friday, Nov. 29

Friday evenings: 5 to 8 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 1 to 8 p.m.

Christmas week: Monday, Dec. 23: Trivia Day from 1 to 8 p.m.

December 24: 1 to 8 p.m. (Last day)

For special appointments: 541-480-2456 or 541-447-5006.

The 2019 Lighted Christmas Parade, "Candy Christmas."

The 2019 Lighted Christmas Parade will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 30. The parade theme is "Candy Christmas."

Kim Daniels, Crook County Chamber of Commerce Director, said the Chamber will have Santa arrive at the end of the parade. He will be available for pictures and greeting after the parade at the Grimes Christmas Display at the Crook County Fairgrounds. No other participants will be dressed as Santa in order not to confuse children.

Daniels' favorite part of the event is that it's a "great kickoff to the holiday season, and it's wonderful to see all the families out enjoying Prineville."

The floats will be decorated in the "Candy Christmas" theme, and judging will take place before the parade. The judges will be looking for decorations reflecting the theme.

Participants will line up along Northwest Fourth and Northwest Fifth streets after checking in and receiving their assigned number in the parade order. The parade route runs from Harwood to Fairview along Third Street.

Schedule for 2019 Lighted Christmas Parade:

Lineup begins at 4 p.m. (first come first serve). Entrants must be checked in prior to 4:45 p.m. to participate.

Check-in will be at Deer Street between Third and Fourth streets. Entrants must check in to be allowed in the parade line-up areas.

Dropoffs will be at the First Interstate parking lot.

No additional vehicles allowed in the parade line-up areas.

The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. and will end at approximately 6:00 at the intersection of Fairview and Fourth street.

Christmas in the Pines

Twinkling lights can be seen at the Crook County Fairgrounds immediately following the Lighted Christmas Parade on Saturday evening.

Christmas in the Pines is a drive-through of lighted displays that have been set up by volunteers in the community. It begins at the Crook County Fairgrounds entrance off of Main Street and wraps around back to Main Street.

Entrance is free. Donations of nonperishable food for the Holiday Partnership or pet food for the Humane Society of the Ochocos are suggested.

"This year, we have a lot of new lights and a few new displays," said Gail Merritt, volunteer for the Christmas in the Pines display. She pointed to a new display that is provided by the Kiwanis Club.

On opening night, Nov. 30, there will be a live Nativity scene, and Santa and Mrs. Claus can be found at the Grimes Family Christmas Scene.

The Crook County Court donated funds for some electrical upgrades, and Rosendin Electric donated some commercial cords for the displays this year as well.

Christmas in the Pines started when the fairgrounds manager, Casey Daly, voiced a need to offer some Christmas lights at the fairgrounds during the holiday season.

"Debbie Smith was the real force behind getting the fairgrounds decorated, and we have just been upgrading every year since then," Merritt added.

She explained that different businesses donate time and/or funds to help support the lighted displays. Volunteers set up the lights each year and facilitate the operation during the weekends when the lights come on.

There is a radio station that plays Christmas music drivers can tune into while touring the display.

Merritt said volunteersare as young as 13 years old up and as old as 80.

Times and contacts for Christmas in the Pines

Contact: For more information to volunteer, call Gail Merritt at 541-408-6930

Opens Saturday, Nov.30 through Christmas Day.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Open 24 hours


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