LEBANON — Food, music, lights, floats and clear weather came together on Saturday night as Lebanon opened the Christmas season with its annual Holidays in the Park celebration.
The event was focused at Ralston Park where the festivities began in the early afternoon with face-painting and other activities for children.
The gazebo hosted a series of performances by Cascade Performing Arts, the Seven Oaks band, a combined Hamilton Creek and Lacomb School troupe, and the Voices in Your Head a capella group.
The concert was capped off by a performance from the Lebanon High School Chamber Choir, joined by members of the Lebanon Community Chorus, under the direction of Kevin Wong.
Jamie Morris, of Lebanon, brought her toddler son Nolan to Ralston Park to watch her mother, Sharon Zucker, perform as part of the Lebanon Community Chorus.
“This is much better than last year,” Morris said. “Last year was raining and cold.”
A large crowd gathered at the gazebo for the concert, completely filling the bleachers that had been installed for the occasion. People listened intently as Wong led the chorus through a selection of holiday classics.
“For me, I feel it’s something that I grew up around,” Wong said of the carols. “It’s so familiar to everybody it makes the holidays better.”
Mayor Paul Aziz thanked the volunteers who help organize the event each year, in particular Dala Johnson and Cindy Ongers.
“It reminds me of a Hallmark movie with all the people here and the singing,” Aziz said. “It just gets larger and larger. The crowds are just amazing.”
After the concert there was the traditional Christmas parade, followed by the official lighting of the Christmas tree and park.
People began lining Main Street well over an hour before the parade began. Among the crowd was Rialee Roth, 10, a fourth-grade student at Cascade Elementary School, who was with her mother, Rhianna Roth.
Asked which float was her favorite, Rialee had no hesitation.
“The Grinch,” she said. “He waved at us.”