It’s that time of the year again! This Saturday, 6th of December, is our Christmas parade and Tree Lighting at Victorian Square. This is a fun event…although it could be quite cold. But…there is always the Cantina, Great Basin Brewery, and O’Skis to run into after the Tree Lighting!
I saw that our Christmas tree arrived on Monday morning, 1 December ~ it’s a 60-foot Douglas Fir from Garibaldi, Oregon, our sister city. They always send down pretty trees…can’t wait to see it lit.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Arts/Craft Booths & Food Booths Open in front of the Silver Club
Various parade route activities
Storytelling at the Sparks Museum, 2nd floor
Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Glendale Schoolhouse
1:00 – 3:00 pm:
Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade, traveling east to west along Victorian Avenue
Grand Marshal, Olympian Natalie Coughlin
3:00 – 4:15 pm
Cami Thompson & Friends perform, “Christmas Carols Come to Life”
Christmas carols performed by the Reed High Intermezzo Choir
5:00 – 5:30 pm
Tree Lighting Ceremony, main stage
GARIBALDI – It’s time again to sign up for the annual Christmas Tree Express from Garibaldi to Spraks, Nev. Sharon Stafford tell the story of this sister-city tradition in her own words:
It all started in1985 at the Cal-Neva casino in Reno. Pat Bash and Jim Parks, from Garibaldi, were sitting in the casino and struck up a conversation with a man named Norm Neilson, who was the public relations director for the Cal-Neva.
Norm was bemoaning the fact that he missed a real Christmas tree. Well, Pat told him that she’d get him one, and after a while they each went their own way.
A couple of weeks later, Pat called Norm and told him his tree was on its way. She had cut a 40-footer out of Jim’s front yard and talked her brother into hauling it to Reno on his flat bed truck.
Norm was very excited but didn’t quite know how to get everything arranged. He called his friend Tony Lubbers at the Nugget (who was the CEO, now retired). Tony spoke to John Ascuga, and he said, “Let’s do it!”
Norm and Tony got things going on their end.They had a small parade with the governor, mayor and city council and had a nice presentation to light it up at city hall. We continued this until 1986, when Reno decided to go with live trees.
So we began taking it to Sparks, Reno’s neighbor. The first year we took one bus to Reno, then we took two, and this continued for several years until it was more cost effective to fly.
In 1988, Sparks began to redevelop the entire downtown. It has evolved into a beautiful city, to rival any across the nation. The city also has Nevada’s official premier parade – the largest in the state. For years our local Coast Guard has led the parade. We are now their sister city as well.
This is always a special time for all involved. The expressions on the faces of the young and young at heart always remind you of what the holiday season is all about. Please come and join us on the Christmas Tree Express.
David Stein and David Jr. have cut the tree since 1986. We cut the tree on Thanksgiving Day, and Terry Freeman takes it down to Sparks on Friday morning. All are welcome to come along and enjoy.
Stafford noted that of the original crew, all but two Christmas Tree Express travelers have passed away. But the tradition lives on, and she encourages everyone to join the fun. “I love it!” Stafford said. “I love it every year.”