SEASIDE - Caroling and floats and Santa, oh my! And food. Mustn't forget the free food.

The Seaside Holiday Parade of Lights and Caroling starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27 on First Avenue and Necanicum Drive, as floats, cars and marchers line up. A fire truck carrying the jolly Kris Kringle will be there, as well as a float from Pacific Power, which sponsors the parade, and other assorted floats.

"We don't know who's going to participate until they drive up," said Ken Karge, who has organized the parade for several years along with the Seaside Chamber of Commerce. "A lot of them don't bother to sign up for the judging. They just sign up for the heck of it."

The parade has been happening for nearly 20 years.

The Seaside Downtown Development Association hangs swags adorned with bows and white lights on lampposts along Broadway. Keith Chandler and Bob Ewing, behind, put swags on both sides of the posts. Photo by Lori Assa."It's a neat way to get the community together and do some caroling," said Ken's wife, Audrey Karge. "We don't do that often enough."

The floats will travel east on First Avenue until Holladay Drive, turn right and continue down to Broadway, where they will turn right again.

Holladay and Broadway is where most spectators stand. As the parade marches by, the audience falls in behind, caroling to Christmas music provided by KCYS, the country station at 98.1 FM. Those with floats are asked to put boomboxes somewhere on the structure.

"We would encourage anyone who is going to walk in the parade and sing to bring a portable radio," Ken Karge said.

The Chamber hands out sheet music for the well-known carols, and the parade marches on. After the turn on Broadway, floats travel down to Columbia Street. They turn right to go back up to First Avenue, where another right brings them to the finish at Quatat Park on the Necanicum River.

Hovering above the Shilo Inn in Seaside, Steve Kapture strings white lights into a large illuminated tree. Photo by Lori Assa."It kind of goes in a circle," said event coordinator Wendy Richardson, a chamber employee.

At the park will be a Christmas tree, hot cider and cookies, and a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Santa hands out candy canes to children, and a singer leads the crowd in additional songs. The Chamber is providing judges to pick the best floats, though the only prize is "bragging rights," Richardson said.

"The more lights, the merrier on your float," she said. Well-lighted floats will keep the nighttime scene clear and bright. Also lighting the way will be store owners who are keeping their businesses open late, including Granderson's at 612 Broadway. The store, which sells gifts and knickknacks, will stay open "'til they all go away," owner Patty Dunn said.

Decked out in ornaments, a little Christmas tree catches a ride in last year's Seaside parade. Submitted photo.Granderson's and other businesses have already decorated for the Downtown Window Decorating Contest organized by the Seaside Downtown Development Association, which will be judged at the SDDA meeting Dec. 9. Meanwhile, the bright storefronts add color to the parade.

Chamber employee Joyce Stewart said the event means a fun time for the whole family.

In an area they call 'Santa's workshop,' from left, Richard Hempel, Carolyn Marie and Cheryl Fearn work to decorate the Carousel Mall. Photo by Lori Assa."We hope for good weather," Ken Karge said. "We've been really lucky so far. Last year it rained all day and then stopped in time for the parade."


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