Lights On Parade: Jaime the Elf and friends light the way

The Hollister Heat and Black Jack's Fastpitch Softball chant as they ride up San Benito Street Saturday during the 23rd Annual Lights On Celebration Parade.

With the help of one of Santa’s elves from Hollister and 200 elementary students, the 23rd annual Lights on Celebration Parade was well lit, just in time for Santa’s arrival and the holiday season.
Two hundred students from four elementary schools in Hollister submitted their “acts of kindness” for the inaugural “Acts of Kindness” program to help Jaime the Elf light the way for Santa to arrive in Hollister – and for the Lights On Celebration Parade this past Saturday.
“All the activities went with the book,” said Kathleen Sheridan, the author of the local children’s book, “Jaime the Elf” and chairwoman of the Lights On Celebration. “We had a tremendous response.”
“Jaime the Elf” is the story of one of Santa’s elves who, in order to become a full Elf, was tasked with making sure the town of Hollister was lit up for Santa’s arrival. The only way to light up the town was to bring the true spirit of Christmas – with acts of kindness.
Sheridan said she visited a kindergarten class at Spring Grove School who listened to her read the book. After she finished the book, the students peppered the author with questions about how she wrote it and how she illustrated it, she said.
“They really got into it,” she said.
Eight students, two from each participating school, were invited to sit on the “Acts of Kindness” float during the parade. Participating elementary schools included R.O. Hardin, Ladd Lane, Spring Grove and Tres Pinos.
“We were really overwhelmed by the number of responses we got,” said Kris Waller, the events coordinator for the Hollister Downtown Association.
All 200 submissions can now be viewed at the Blak Sage Gallery in downtown Hollister for the entire month of December.
The book, “Jaime the Elf,” was first conceived and written by Sheridan in 1994 when she was the executive director of the Hollister Downtown Association. It published as a story in the Free Lance at the time. In 2011, the story was resurrected, and Sheridan, an artist, decided to draw the characters in the book. The book was then published and is “doing well,” she said.
“It’s kind of like Hollister’s own Christmas story,” she said.
She said the inspiration for the main character came from a person named Jamie the author used to know – who also happened to have red hair, like the main character.
Sheridan said the story reflects the community. Hollister and San Benito County are really unique because of the volunteerism and kindness of the local community, she said.
“I think the community went over the top with the entries (float entries),” she said. “Everybody volunteers. It’s really strong. That’s why something like Light On works.”

Leave your comments