Crescent City lights up the night to start holiday season

Bad weather may have grounded Kris Kringle, but it didn't keep him from downtown's annual Christmas Light Parade and Tree Lighting on Saturday evening.

Unable to fly in via helicopter, Santa Claus sauntered in from the Crescent City Cultural Center on foot, sleigh bells in hand. From atop a Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department ladder truck, Santa Claus greeted residents who lined the parade route, including toddlers Shaylee Bowers and Sam Jones.

"Santa's coming," Shaylee exclaimed, squirming in her mother's arms.

Sisters Mariah Bowers and Cera Jones kept firm hold of their little ones as the Light Parade passed by. Shaylee and Sam watched the Redwood School Raiders cheerleaders decked in flickering lights, perform a Christmas cheer before showering the audience with candy canes. Shaylee and Sam's faces lit up when Santa rode by.

Bowers, who was pregnant, said going to the parade was something she chose to do before having her baby. She added that her baby was due Monday.

"It's a boy," Bowers said. "I decided to do one more thing before I can't go out anymore."

Despite the region's wet weather Saturday, Crescent City experienced a lull in the storm in time for the start of the parade. Approximately 16 organizations participated, said parade organizer Cheryl Corpstein. She added that the parade has been going on for about 20 years.

At the head of the parade was a float designed by Re/Max Coastal Redwoods. In its second year,the float depicted a winter landscape with lighted Christmas trees, park benches and deer.

"This is our second year in the Light Parade," said Ana Hartwick, who helped design the float. "(The float) took about a day and a half. Between 8,000 and 8,500 lights are on it."

Before the parade kicked off, about 18 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls from Redwood School in Fort Dick practiced their Christmas cheer.

"They made up the words and dance (last) Monday," said coach Robyn Holt. "They're really good. This is our first year doing the parade. The community gives us so much, and we do what we can to give back to it."

After the parade, the community Christmas tree was illuminated in Tsunami Plaza.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at