Wonderful time of the year in SH

If you weren’t out on the streets for the beginning of the Christmas holiday celebration in Sweet Home this past weekend, you missed out.

It was exciting to see the turnout for various activities, starting with the tree lighting on Nov. 30, followed by the weekend fun.

We say “fun” because it really was.

Even standing in the winter drizzle on Saturday evening, watching the entries roll by in the Lighted Christmas Parade, was exciting. That’s because it was a quality event, with well over 40 entries – lavishly lighted log and other trucks, and a lot of kids, young and old, having fun on the floats, which represented everything from local scouting organizations in town to the Oregon Jamboree and area businesses.

Every year we say to ourselves, “We should get a float out there,” but covering the news is pretty demanding and that just gets shoved to the side. We have a lot of respect and appreciation for those who go the distance to get their entry out there for everybody to enjoy.

We wondered how this year’s parade might match up to the Capitol Christmas Tree last year. The crowds on the sidewalks may not have been as large, but the parade itself was right there. It was great, and we’re thinking this may get exponentially better.

Kudos to the organizers who put this thing together, working through the bus to facilitate a spectacular show.

The Oregon Jamboree contributed to the weekend by providing country music artist Jessie Leigh to perform for both the Birthday Party for Jesus/Gingerbread Competition on Saturday afternoon, and the Trees for Scholarships auction that evening, which drew a capacity crowd and set records for the amount of money raised (see page 8).

Those with the means to do so were very generous.

We don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but the Singing Christmas Tree was also not to be missed. We didn’t get there until Sunday afternoon, due to the demands on news coverage on Friday and Saturday, but we walked in on a near-capacity crowd and a great show.

We agree with one attendee who told us this year’s performance may have been one of the best ever: quality arrangements of Christmas favorites, good singing and a great halftime show emceed by Paul Rowton Jr. Those who might wonder if we are being a bit gratuitous with the praise needed to be there.

Those who have lived in other locales, particularly large metropolises where one can walk through a grocery store on a regular basis and not know a soul, can certainly appreciate the different vibe we can experience in a community like Sweet Home, particularly when we all come together.

We complain, sometimes justifiably, about the problems we have, which are very real.

But it’s good to remember our blessings: that people here care enough to put lights on their log trucks to participate in an event that makes their neighbors happy; that people care enough to put together an auction that raises large sums to help local students better themselves with post-high school education; that people care enough to put forth the energy to organize the parade, the Birthday Party for Jesus, the city Christmas Tree Lighting at City Hall, the Christmas card displays, the Gingerbread Competition, the Christmas Lights Display Contest, the Yule Log treats, and more, much more still to come (see pages 12 and 13).

Sure, other communities have holiday celebrations and programs put together by people who care. They’re great too. But often they’re simply spectacular and that’s it. You might have a few family members with you, but you don’t know anybody else.

Christmas weekend is one of the times when it can just be downright heart-warming to be here, instead of some anonymous city that doesn’t sleep. Here, at least, there’s a good chance we might know somebody else’s name.

One of the auction organizers made this comment when delivering the totals for us to pass along: “Sweet Home is a great place to live!“

We couldn’t agree more.