With a bit of a twist, holiday cheer persists

EMMA ROUTLEY/ THE CHRONICLE The Toys for Tots float brought along some familiar characters at last weekend’s Springfield Christmas stationary parade.

2020 feels as though we’ve spent the last nine months trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, and now we are trying to find a way to celebrate the holiday season. You never thought you’d be driving through a reverse Christmas parade, waving back to the parked floats, or celebrating a traditional tree lighting online instead of in person. 

When Jonathan Hocker, treasurer for the Oregon Riders Society, realized there wouldn’t be an Oldest and Coldest Christmas parade in Springfield this year, he was inspired to help keep the tradition alive through the pandemic, and pitched a provisional parade method to the chief of police: a stationary parade.

During a stationary parade, the movement of floats and spectators is reversed. Holiday-themed floats remain parked on South A Street while cars and people move in rotation. The parade viewing began on 5th street, and cars slowly drove up to each float, occasionally stopping completely to give businesses the opportunity to wish cars a “Merry Christmas” and a chance to really observe the decorations.

EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONCILE An aptly designed float by Ridgeline Mounted Archers.

“The amount of effort was crazy; it was a real challenge to get entries, but I think we did okay,” Hocker said. In years past, over 100 businesses participated in the floats with over 60,000 spectators. This year, 33 businesses including Bikers for Bullies, Sons of Norway, The Laundromutt and Springfield Public Library lined 13 blocks of South A Street with floats on Dec. 5.

Toys for Tots Lane County coordinator Gunnery Sergeant Scott Boylan said the stationary parade was beneficial for the organization, as it made collecting donations easier. “People driving by could see us and we didn’t have to run up and down. Nobody was missed, we could take toys and put them right in the box,” Boylan said. “We always try to collect new and unwrapped toys. Everything we collect goes back to the kids.”

Despite the setbacks COVID-19 had on participation, Hocker tried to keep the parade as traditional as possible. He sought out the Springfield Marching Band drumline — the only group who has been in the parade for all 68 years.

EMMA ROUTLEY/ THE CHRONICLE The Springfield Marching Band has not missed a Springfield Christmas parade in 68 years – the parade’s most consistent participant.

“I had to pursue them and I was so determined to get them in for tradition’s sake. I didn’t care if it was one kid from the band,” Hocker said. “Tradition is what tradition is.”

Hocker described the traffic as “horrendous,” but the floats were all packed up and the street was back to normal just 30 minutes after the parade ended. 

Ongoing in Creswell, the Creswell Eagle Scouts are selling Christmas trees on weekends through Dec. 20 near to the Bean Hopper at 274 E. Oregon Ave. as part of its fundraising efforts.

Over 100 trees were donated from local businesses, including Herrick Farms in Springfield, Hendrickson’s Tree Farm in Cottage Grove and Oregon Herb & Craft in Creswell, Scout parent Justin Lidstrom said. 

The four Eagle Scouts, Kenneth New, Thomas Green, Elijah Kopperud, and Mathew Lidstrom are all working together to raise money for their unique individual projects that better the community. Kopperud,17, said for his individual project, he is making food baskets to help families in need this Christmas. New, 17, is working on his project with the Eagle Scouts’ charter, the Veteran of Foreign Wars, to help build the local Creswell post a new chain-link fence.

EMMA ROUTLEY/ THE CHRONICLE Creswell Eagle Scouts Thomas Green, Elijah Kopperud, Mathew Lidstrom and Kenneth New are selling Christmas trees on Oregon Avenue on the weekends through Dec. 20.

Creswell neighbors and businesses are showing off their competitive spirit by illuminating their yards and decking the halls as part of the City’s Winter Lights contest.

One winner per day will be given a $50 cash prize for best light display through Dec. 12. Among the winners are Josh and Nicole Stroda at 750 Kings Row, Kim Hilarides at 370 F St., and Cheryl Engle-Radke at 561 Pine Ct.  

Other contests extend through Dec. 21, including most festive business, best holiday theme, best apartment, the most lights, the ugliest decorations, and a children’s theme. The People’s Choice award goes to the address with the most votes; turn in the address of your nominee at the City Hall utility drop box at 13 S. 1st St.

In Cottage Grove, the tree lighting ceremony that has traditionally taken place in person for over 10 years still put on a show – online-style. 

A drone view of Cottage Grove’s tree lighting. IMAGE: CG Chamber

The virtual ceremony was hosted by the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 5. In a short Facebook video, Mayor Jeff Gowing introduced the ceremony alongside Santa, Mrs. Claus, and an elf. Santa counted down the tree lighting while the elf danced. The video shows off the tree from a bird’s-eye view, maintaining the traditional holiday spirit this tree lighting brings the town each year.

The holidays can be stressful, though through the pandemic, communities are coming together – at a distance – to make the season special without abandoning traditions or safety … and that is what the holiday spirit is truly all about.



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