By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Santa set to arrive at Friday parade

Rusty Rae/News-Register##
The Grinch (Ben Blanco) prepares to ride in Friday afternoon s Santa Parade, which will roll through downtown McMinnville starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26. The Grinch and his little dog, too, will be joined by real estate agents from Coldwell Banker of McMinnville and Newberg, who built the float using the company s blue and white colors, according to Tammy Cooley, one of the Coldwell employees.  We like to do it for the community,  she said, noting that agents will be handing out 3,000 candy canes, as well. More than two dozen other floats, marching groups and bands will take part in the parade, which marks the arrival of the Christmas season and Santa s first visit to McMinnville this year.
Rusty Rae/News-Register## The Grinch (Ben Blanco) prepares to ride in Friday afternoon's Santa Parade, which will roll through downtown McMinnville starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26. The Grinch and his little dog, too, will be joined by real estate agents from Coldwell Banker of McMinnville and Newberg, who built the float using the company's blue and white colors, according to Tammy Cooley, one of the Coldwell employees. "We like to do it for the community," she said, noting that agents will be handing out 3,000 candy canes, as well. More than two dozen other floats, marching groups and bands will take part in the parade, which marks the arrival of the Christmas season and Santa's first visit to McMinnville this year.
News-Register file photo##The Santa parade will return at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26.
News-Register file photo##The Santa parade will return at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26.

Santa Claus is looking forward to cruising into McMinnville atop a fire truck Friday.

“I’m elated and super excited for this year,” said Santa, whose phone interview was arranged by a member of the Yamhill County CERT program, Darrell Flood.

He’s been appearing in parades and at events for many years, but he always gets a special thrill from riding in McMinnville’s Santa Parade, which will return Friday, Nov. 26.

“I always feel the love and joy in the air,” he said. “The spirit of Christmas begins that day and goes on all season.”

McMinnville didn’t have a Santa Parade in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the parade is back this year to kick off the local holiday season.

At least 20 bands, walking groups and floats will travel down Third Street starting at 4:30 Friday afternoon. Santa will arrive on the final float, a ladder truck from the McMinnville Fire Department.

Santa said he loves the moment when he turns around and looks back along the parade route. “You see the community fold in around the truck and walk behind it, heading to the tree lighting,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

So is the moment the 160-foot tree Sequoia in McMinnville City Park is illuminated during a ceremony that follows the parade. 

This year, the tree has 5,000 feet of additional lights. Some replaced those that were damaged in the February ice storm; some replaced lights that had just reached the end of their usefulness.

Heather Richards, McMinnville planning director, said local arborists offered their help when the city needed someone to light the tall tree. Volunteers screwed in the 5,000 new red and white light bulbs.

“We’re scrambling, but people are stepping up,” Richards said.

Santa is encouraging people to keep helping their community — and to turn out for Friday’s parade and other events during the holidays.

He’s planning to spend some time at Serendipity on Sunday, Dec. 5, for instance. On Dec. 12, he’ll be at Homeward Bound Pets’ “Santa Paws” event from 1 to 4 p.m. at Petco.

But first, he’ll see children and adults alike at the parade.

“Let’s get together and spread Christmas joy,” he said. “Let’s make up for last year.”

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