Church volunteers passed out hot chocolate, Corvallis police officers gave away candy canes and children waved and laughed with glee as a record number of lit-up parade entries traveled up the spectator-lined Southwest Fourth Street during the 29th annual Corvallis Community Christmas Parade on Saturday night.
“I love all the CANDY!” exclaimed spectator 4-year-old Blaise Neil.
His sister, Eyra Neil, 7, concurred.
“Look at our stash of candy,” she said. “That’s all ours!”
Their parents, Maggie and Jason Neil, grew up in Corvallis, but Saturday marked Jason’s first time attending the parade.
Traditionally held the Friday after Thanksgiving, this year’s parade was moved to Saturday so as not to coincide with the Civil War football game between the Oregon State Beavers and Oregon Ducks.
Sponsored by the Corvallis Lions Club and the Downtown Corvallis Association, the parade featured traditional walking entries, floats, dogs, kinetic sculptures, Kazoo bands and other music, a fleet of Benton County Sheriff’s Office vehicles and more.
The Grand Marshals for the parade were the Singing Leslie Family, who have participated in many a past parade, providing music before the tree-lighting ceremony at the Benton County Courthouse that concludes the annual event.
Although the weather was warm by Oregon standards, it wasn’t as tropical as the parade’s theme, “Hawaiian Aloha Christmas.”
One float rider strummed a ukulele beneath palm trees made from carpet spools, cardboard palms and balloons as coconuts. The large spools also held up the float’s tiki bar, which served less-tropical drinks to its riders.
“We have hot cider and hot chocolate to go,” said Wendy Zuidema, who helped build the float for the Corvallis Evangelical Church over a couple weekends in her garage.
It won the award for best nonprofit or civic entry.
If most lighted entry was a category, the Sears Family and Friends Flatbed would have taken home the prize. More than 30,000 lights made the semi truck and flatbed trailer glow in the night from blocks away. The trailer portion alone, which featured a nativity scene, snowmen and sleigh with reindeer, took 10,000 watts of energy to light up, David Sears said. He won best commercial entry.
All of the parade winners are as follows:
Best use of theme: 4-H Blue Ribbonaires and 4-H Buckles and Spurs
Best commercial entry: Sears Family and Friends Flatbed
Best use of lights: Benton County Public Works Dump Truck
Best county entry: Corvallis Mountain Rescue Unit of Benton County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue
Best nonprofit/civic entry: Corvallis Evangelical Church
Best use of music: Aloha Rocket and Kazoo Marching Brigade
Best animal entry: Benton County Fair Rodeo Queen Alyssa
Best walking entry: 4-H Four Paws and 4-H Power Paws Club