PENDLETON — Christmas in Pendleton celebation will jumpstart the holiday season in town on Saturday, with many fan-favorite events from years past, including a parade and snowball toss, and opportunities to take pictures with Santa.
“I feel like it’s all coming along well,” organizer Niki Brown said last week. “All the final pieces are coming together.”
New this year is the theme “A Who Celebration,” with several nods to the Dr. Seuss concept.
Pendleton Fire Chief Chris Nodine drives an antique fire truck in the Christmas in Pendleton parade on Nov. 13, 2021.
“The Grinch is going to be there at 11 and 2 for storytime and pictures. So I think that will be really fun,” Brown said, noting that’s just one place where the theme will be apparent.
The storytimes will take place at Nellie Fayes, a boutique shop located at 121 N. Pendleton Ave.
The Who theme will also be evident at other retailers, Brown said.
“Some of the stores in town are going to be offering specials that go along with it,” she said. “Vendors are doing specials and having things that have to do with Who-ville.
And, “there’s going to be a Grinch hidden in one of the local businesses,” she said. “Whoever finds it and brings it to the Mystic Waters booth gets a prize.”
Christmas in Pendleton is an event arranged by Pendleton Business Association with the help of sponsors and others.
Event official PBA event hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with some local groups planning activities that either start earlier or take place later.
The day begins with breakfasts at Pendleton First United Methodist Church (6:30 to 10 a.m.) and The Stable (8 to 11 a.m.), overlapping with other activities going on, including Snow Queen ceremonies at Town Hall (9:30 a.m.) and pictures with Santa (10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.) at Gallery 119, 119 W. State St.
“Then we have some characters that are going to be strolling around for pictures — a reindeer, snowman and an elf,” Brown said.
Festive characters roam the streets during Christmas in Pendleton on Nov. 13, 2021.
Santa will take a break from flashbulbs to walk in the parade, which starts at 1 p.m. at Pendleton Elementary School.
The parade route runs north on East Street to State Street, west on State Street through downtown, ending just before it turns south onto Main Street.
The parade grand marshals this year will be Ralph and Kathy Ridenour, owners of R&R Market and Garden Center at the corner of state roads 38 and 67 for more than 40 years. Brown said the Ridenours were selected because of their longtime commitment and dedication to the town.
Also in the parade will be the Christmas in Pendleton Snow Queen and her court.
In the wake of the parade, after it passes through town, one of the most highly anticipated moments of the day arrives, an event led by local Boy Scout Troop 232.
“We’re going to have a snowball fight,” Brown said.
It only lasts a few minutes, but historically it’s been rather intense, as children hurl fake snowballs across the street at each other. The snowballs have varied through the years, including ones made of hard Styrofoam and soft plush. This year’s are plush, Brown said.
Other activities scheduled throughout the day include a Santa’s Workshop play area, located in the parking lot of Linnie B’s, 116 E. State St.
There will be a snow pit, obstacle course, bounce house, face painter, crafts and tattoos, along with some games.
“That area will just be a really fun area to take your kids in and play,” Brown said. “Santa’s reindeer are going to be there. Kids can feed them and pet them.”
At Gallery 119, there will be activities in addition to photos with Santa (see related box). There will be a North Pole mailbox for wish lists, for those who want to put their requests in writing. And, for a charge, children will be able to make an ornament, have their face painted and shop for gifts for the adults in their lives.
People take a sleigh ride in Falls Park during Christmas in Pendleton on Nov. 13, 2021.
In Falls Park, a short walk from the center of the action, there will be horse-drawn carriage rides offered without charge from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All people have to do is show up at the gazebo and wait their turn.
“It’ll go through the park, up to the Community Building and then loop back around,” Brown said.
Another part of the fun is the opportunity to shop, for food, drink and merchandise at stores and vendors.
In addition to the many local stores that will be open for business, there will be more than 60 vendors plying their wares, Brown said.
“We have a good group of food vendors that’ll be there that day,” she said, ranging from the sustenance-providing nourishment of barbecue and nachos, to the sweet-tooth satisfying offerings of baked cookies and Boba teas.. “We have 11 different people signed up for food.”
And there will be “a really good variety of craft vendors that have homemade crafts, jewelry, wood art and clothing, soap and lotion vendors,” she said.
“People are goingg to be able to come here and find a good array of gifts,” as well as things for themselves and their homes.
Helping create the festive atmosphere over all of the activities of the day will be some sensory components, both visual and auditory, Brown said.
There will be wreaths, both lighted ones on the light poles and others made and displayed by businesses participating in a wreath contest.
A lot of the storefront windows will be decorated, too, she said.
Also, there will be Christmas music, some piped in through the town’s speaker system downtown and some provided by strolling carolers from local churches.
More music can be had after the event at the Friends of Falls Park tree lighting ceremony at the park gazebo.
Reindeer add to the festive feel during Christmas in Pendleton on Nov. 13, 2021.
Finally, Brown, who is organizing the event for the first time this year, said she is trying to figure out how to guarantee a seasonal touch to the affair that, in years past, has been proved tough in early November: Guarantee snow.
“I found this snow machine in the storage unit,” she said, explaining that she going to be working on that in the 10 days leading up to the event. “It would be amazing if we had snow coming off the top of the buildings.”
While making no promises, she said, “It just might be snowing in Pendleton that day.