Downtown Hollister gears up for Lights On Celebration

City employee Rod Aguilar has fun while putting up the holiday garland that hangs across San Benito Stree. The Lights On Celebration is Saturday.

The Hollister Downtown Association is gearing up for what could be the biggest Lights On event ever.

“Preparations are going incredibly well. The parade is full; the boutique is full; all the trees have been adopted; and all the bows have been sponsored,” said Denise Cauthen-Wright, the Hollister Downtown Association’s event coordinator, when asked how planning for the event was going.

This year’s Lights On is an all-day event, starting at 10 a.m., rather than just after the parade in the evening. Several dance groups will be joining the festivities and providing entertainment for the whole family. New this year is the Car Show, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sixth and Seventh streets. Last Friday, Cauthen-Wright said the Car Show already had about 40 cars signed up – with an average of two or three cars a day still being added.

Tammy Jackson at HDA said that the new Holiday Gift Boutique will feature about 50 booths inside the Veterans Memorial Building. From 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., guests can shop through an array of products by local vendors – from handmade soap by Felton Farms Soap Company to bags from The Bag Lady. Also, there will also be several arts and crafts activities to occupy the kids, including face painting and spin art.

Entertainment will start before the parade this year, rather than after. Live music and performances will be on the Main Stage in front of the Veterans Memorial Building, and also at Fifth and San Benito streets, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The Rancho/Maze Middle School Band and the Scarlet Regiment Band will be performing both in the parade and after at Sixth and San Benito Streets.

This year several costume characters will be roaming the streets before the parade, greeting children and their families for a magical holiday experience. Cauthen-Wright also said to be prepared because a few very special guest characters are planning to make a surprise appearance during the parade.

Santa and Mrs. Clause will still be available to listen to gift requests and take pictures with children after the parade for a minimal fee, but will be inside the veterans building on the main stage rather than outside. Several donation barrels will be available in the Car Show area for those who would like to contribute to the holiday giving spirit by helping those in need. The event will be accepting donations of canned food for the Community Pantry and unwrapped toys for CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates of San Benito County, which provides services for San Benito foster children.

For more information about Lights On, visit www.downtownhollister.org, or call the Hollister Downtown Association at 636-8406.

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