Several festivities are planned to bring in the holiday spirit as the cold and rain hit the Mid-Willamette Valley.
After two years of COVID-19 closures and restrictions, a full roster of lights displays, parades, Santa visits and markets are planned for late November and December.
Here are a few events celebrating the season:
Salem holiday parade
On Nov. 26, a holiday parade will wind through downtown Salem streets for the first time in several years.
The free parade will start at 6 p.m. at the corner of Court and Church streets, and weave its way through downtown, culminating with Santa arriving in an antique fire truck and the lighting of a community tree on top of the Winslow Boutique building on Court Street.
Victorian carolers and a visit from Buddy the Elf are expected, along with window decorating contests for downtown businesses.
The event is being put on by the Salem Main Street Association, which also worked with volunteers to put up 75,000 holiday lights on trees and lamposts downtown. Association President Jim Vu said the push to create a festive downtown this holiday season was inspired by a recent story and survey by the Statesman Journal.
The lights will remain up throughout the holiday season.
More information, registration and a map can be found at salemmainstreetassociation.org/winter-holiday-traditions/winter-holiday-parade/.
Keizer Holiday Lights Parade
Keizer’s annual celebration featuring lighted parade floats and holiday music is returning to River Road this year on Dec. 10.
The theme is March of the Toys, and the parade, which is free to attend, will feature lighted entries from local businesses, car clubs, marching bands, fire departments and civic groups.
The event will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on River Road North from Lockahaven to Glynbrook.
All float entries must be registered by Dec. 2.
Miracle of Christmas
For nearly 40 years, the Gubser neighborhood in Keizer has gone all out with Christmas decorations and lights.
The annual Miracle of Christmas lights display returns Dec. 3-26 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night.
Since 1984, the tradition that started as a friendly competition between families has turned into a community event aimed at spreading holiday cheer while benefiting the Marion-Polk Food Share. Non-perishable food items and monetary donations are accepted for entry at Lockhaven Drive and 14th Avenue NE.
More information is available online at facebook.com/MiracleofChristmas.
Magic at the Mill
From Dec. 19-23, the Willamette Heritage Center transforms its 5-acre site into a winter wonderland with holiday lights, live music, shopping, historical demonstrations, miniature trains and children’s activities.
This year’s five-day event also will feature a visit from Santa.
Ticket information can be found online at willametteheritage.org/magic-at-the-mill.
Santa visits Salem via train
Santa will arrive in Salem the day after Thanksgiving on the Carousel Express.
Saint Nick is due in on the noon train on Friday near Salem’s Riverfront Carousel. Complimentary hot cocoa will be served and photos with Santa are available from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Take your own photos is $5, and a keepsake is $15
If you miss Santa on Friday, he still will be available for walk-in visits throughout the holiday season.
More information can be found at salemcarousel.wixsite.com/salemcarousel/carouselholidays.
Silverton Christmas Market
From Nov. 25 to Jan. 1, more than one million lights glow at the Oregon Garden in Silverton.
The Silverton Christmas Market also will feature vendors, Santa and live music. The lights will remain up from Jan. 2-8 after the Christmas market has closed.
The ice-skating rink will not be returning this year, but the event will feature a snowless tubing hill.
Ticket information is available online at silvertonchristmasmarket.com.
Willamette’s Star Trees aglow
Since 1997, the glow of five, light-covered giant Sequoia “Star Trees” have lit up the Willamette University campus.
The annual Star Trees lighting and family holiday concert will be on Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. People can enjoy music, cocoa and s’mores outside by the Star Trees followed by a concert featuring the University Chamber Orchestra at 7 p.m. in Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center.
Coat and warm clothing donations will be collected for the Union Gospel Mission.
Beloved lights display continues
The former Gatti lights display is remaining lit this holiday season in its new incarnation as the Mortgage First Corporation lights display. For decades, the Gatti and Gatti law firm decorated its building at 1761 Liberty St. SE with an extravagant Christmas lights display. But when the law firm moved, the building went dark in 2017.
The new occupants resurrected the display in 2019, bringing the holiday spirit back to the Y intersection of Liberty and Commercial streets NE.
For the first time since 2016, Santa will return for the Christmas lighting at the building on Nov. 27 for one night only.
Pictures will be available from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. followed by a lighting display starting at 5 p.m.
The decorations, which include a Santa and reindeer on the roof, will remain lighted from sundown to 10 p.m. every night until Jan. 6.
Salem Tuba Christmas
Up to 100 tubas and euphonium instruments will bring Christmas carols and holiday songs to the Elsinore Theatre on Christmas Eve.
The event by Salem Symphonic Winds returns to the theater for the annual concert, which also will include sing-along sections and a vocal soloist.
Tickets are $5. More information is online at facebook.com/events/elsinore-theatre/salem-tuba-christmas/398745510203975/.
Holiday Sparkles at Powerland
Those wanting to skip the winter chill of an outdoor parade can enjoy the lighting display at the Powerland Heritage Park from the comfort of their vehicle.
The museum north of Salem, known for its historical attractions, will host its annual drive-through Holiday Sparkles display from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11 and Dec. 16 to Dec. 18.
The event is free but donations are welcome.
Holiday open house at Deepwood
Deepwood Museum and Gardens will hold a Holiday Open House on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In the historic estate next to Bush’s Pasture Park, hand-made ornaments will hang from trees scattered throughout the home, reminiscent of how the Victorians would have decorated for the holidays. The Victorian-era estate features a Queen Anne-style house built in 1894 along with formal gardens, nature trails, a greenhouse and a carriage house.
Santa Claus will be in the front parlor along with hosts and hostesses dressed in Victorian attire. A mini sale also will be held in the solarium featuring wreaths, tins of tea, teacups and more.
This event is free to the public. There will be self-guided tours in lieu of full-fledged tours.
Reporter Whitney Woodworth covers city hall, economic development and business for the Statesman Journal. For questions, comments and news tips, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 503-910-6616 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth.