Senior Staff Writer
As 49 trucks covered in Christmas lights appeared on Central Avenue Saturday evening, extra crowd members popped up like mushrooms, emerging from cars where they’d taken refuge from the rain.
A steady downpour during the wait for the Timber Town Toy Land Electric Light Parade to arrive appeared not to dampen the Christmas spirit one bit.
One truck was decorated as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, another sported a Timber Unity sign out front and a Polar Express train car in the back, while a third truck carried a car with a bow on top.
The Sutherlin Fire Department brought a truck with a huge Christmas tree placed sideways along the top and a “Clark Griswold” at the back, in keeping with the parade’s theme of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In the 1989 movie, Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) and his family undergo various hilarious trials and tribulations including strapping an oversized tree to the roof of their car.
Sutherlin firefighter Tad Held firefighter said this was his third time in the parade. He said the parade is a lot of fun, especially for the kids.
“They get excited about seeing the lights,” he said.
Held wasn’t at all worried about the weather dampening anyone’s spirits.
“It’s fine. It’s not that cold so it’s good. We’re all good,” he said.
Garrett Carlson of Les Schwab joined the parade with a new service truck with a canopy on the back to block the rain.
“We have lights. We’re here to support the town. That’s what we’ve always done as Les Schwab so that’s what we’re here to do. Even though it’s raining, people still show up and it gives us hope for the holiday season,” he said.
Dillon Becker of Roseburg was driving a Black Pearl Paving & Excavation lowboy truck hauling a new dozer. Becker, who was raised in Sutherlin, said kids love trucks because they’re big and loud and fun.
He wasn’t sure how many lights were on the truck and dozer.
“We bought about half of them and thought it would be enough, and then I went back and spent a bunch more money and had to put more on here,” he said.
Amber Tolin and Gabe Harrell traveled from Roseburg with their daughter Ellie, 10, to see the parade.
Ellie said she really likes seeing the rainbow of lights.
Harrell said attending the parade as a way to get out into the community. He likes seeing all the different designs each year.
“You can go out and experience that Christmas vibe,” he said.
Tolin and Harrell said last year the parade night was freezing and this year it was raining, but that doesn’t stop people turning out.
For Luis Garcia of Sutherlin, it was a great family outing.
“And you get to see all the lights,” said his daughter Lilly Garcia, 8, who was most excited about seeing giant lit up log trucks and, even better, Santa Claus.
Becky Crawley of Des Moines, Iowa was in town visiting family. She said the parade was a great way to kick off the holidays — and something she never sees at home.
“We hardly ever have Christmas parades. Too much snow usually,” she said.