WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 4, starting at 5 p.m.; tree lighting, 5:50 p.m.; electric light parade, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Plaza Circle and surrounding downtown streets
Downtown Patterson will turn into a winter wonderland Saturday, Dec. 4, with a parade, a tree-lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa during the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas Downtown Open House.
“We hope this will be an evening of community gathering and fun,” said Midge Galvan, chairwoman.
After the 5:50 p.m. tree lighting, an electric light parade — with more than 30 entries from local businesses, groups and schools — will wind through the downtown streets. Santa will arrive during the parade and stay in town long enough so children can visit with him in Santa’s workshop and take photos at Bellissima, 19 S. Del Puerto Ave.
More than 50 community groups will decorate Christmas trees, which will be on display in the South Park throughout the month of December.
Holiday music will fill the air when the Patterson Community Choir, made up of singers from area churches, raises its voices in Christmas carols, including “Silent Night” in Spanish.
The holiday extravaganza also will feature performances by the Patterson Christian Fellowship Youth Band, Trinity Dance Studio and Patterson Gymnastics. Dana Williams will sing during the tree lighting ceremony.
Food and baked goods will be sold throughout the evening.
The tradition of Santa’s arrival started almost 80 years ago, according to local historian Claude Delphia.
Visits by Santa Claus with toys for Patterson children date back to at least 1924, as reported in the Irrigator column “Patterson’s Past,” he said. In 1929, a lighted Christmas tree was displayed in the Plaza Park, and in 1939, at least 700 children received gifts.
Then, in the late 1940s and the 1950s, Martha “Ma” Bishop played Santa Claus as local children packed the Del Puerto Theatre for Christmas fun.
Those who plan to join in Saturday evening will need to plan ahead for parking.
The downtown portion of South Del Puerto Avenue will be closed to traffic from 3 to 10 p.m., and the area of Fourth and E streets and other sections of E Street will be closed to through traffic from 3 to 7 p.m. for parade activities.
West Siders also can do their Christmas shopping locally under one roof that day at the In Town Holiday Mall from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Federated Methodist-Presbyterian Church, 45 S. El Circulo.
Eighteen vendors will sell homemade candy and cookies, candles and home decor, among other goods, and Santa Claus will be available all day for photos.
For information on the Christmas Downtown Open House: Bellissima, 892-6645.
For information on the In Town Holiday Mall: Connie Debler, 892-8907.
• Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187 or email@example.com.