First-ever Tualatin Holiday Lights Parade set
Tualatin will host its first-ever Holiday Lights Parade over the course of three Saturdays beginning Dec. 5.
The first parade will be in East Tualatin. It will begin at 5 p.m. at Tualatin's Atfalati Park and travel to Browns Ferry Park.
A similar parade is set for the same time in the Ibach neighborhood, with a start and end at Tualatin Elementary School, on Dec. 12. Another parade will be held in the Riverpark neighborhood on Dec. 19, with a route to be determined.
Organizers hope to have many residents decorating their vehicles for a 45-minute car parade along a set route. Registration deadlines for the parades are Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, respectively.
Participation is limited to Tualatin residents only, and organizers are hoping to avoid large crowds of spectators.
"The actual routes will be announced for each of those a week prior to the parade," said Julie Ludemann, Tualatin's recreation manager. "There's a delicate balance right now with COVID. We want everyone to know about it, but we don't want too many people to come, or we don't want to encourage a lot of gathering of groups along the parade route."
Route updates can be found on the city's website at tualatinoregon.gov/recreation/winter-and-holiday-activities.
While organizers had originally offered a free auto light starter kit, including an AC adapter and a string of LED lights for just the first 25 vehicles that register, the city has acquired more kits to hand out. Check the website for light kit pick-up days.
"We will also be having some city vehicles that will be lit up and joining the parade as well," said Ludemann.
She said the city was challenged to find ways to celebrate the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic, since Tualatin's Starry Nights and Holiday Lights event has been canceled. That led city staff to conduct some research, including Google searches and seeing what the International Festivals & Events Association might be up to, in order to find alternative event ideas.
"It sounded like a good way to do something that could provide some fun for people while still staying safe," Ludemann said. "I mean, who doesn't like being in a parade? We're thinking it's something that we'll be able to continue in the future. At least, that's the hope."
The event is being made possible through a CARES Act grant distributed by Washington County through what is called the Mental Health & Community Psyche program. Its main goal is to provide funding to help the community as a whole during the pandemic, such as by replacing canceled events with safer and socially distanced activities. Other Washington County cities have also received grants.
"We're planning different activities and events from now through March, which is when the grant period ends," said Ludemann. "We're going to have a lot more coming."
Coming up next will be a Tualatin Donuts in the Park Day, which will be held on three consecutive Wednesdays beginning Dec. 2. The city is bringing in a Pip's Original Doughnuts & Chai mobile food truck to hand out donuts, also providing free cocoa and chai tea.
"The goal of that one is basically to encourage people to get outside, enjoy our parks," Ludemann said. "Even though it's winter, our parks are still really nice places to visit."
The schedule includes: Dec. 2, Atfalati Park, 3-5 p.m.; Dec. 9, Ibach Park, 3-5 p.m.; and Dec. 16, Tualatin Community Park, 3-5 p.m.
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