A blaze of Christmas light and color rolled through Sutherlin on Saturday night at the annual Timber Town Toy Land Electric Light Parade.
The parade began with a police car and Sutherlin Fire Department trucks, followed by trucks with flatbed trailers and log trucks, some with logs included, all festooned with Christmas lights. Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance riding on one of the fire trucks.
Organizer Duane Waller said it takes the whole community to put together the parade. This year’s parade had 28 sponsors who raised $4,400, and more than 40 entrants, making this the biggest one he’s seen since he became involved in the parade in 2006.
“It’s bringing Christmas to Sutherlin. If you go down the street and you see the faces of the kids as the parade goes through town, there’s no way to replace that,” he said.
Chad Hill of Smalley Trucking said it takes six to eight people about 20 hours to cover a flatbed truck and trailer combo. Theirs was decorated with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle pulling a sleigh. Hill said Smalley has been entering the parade for three or four years now, and it’s a lot of fun.
Mike Schmidt, who helped decorate the Smalley entry said it’s all about “spreading the Christmas spirit.”
Melissa and Brandon Baker of Oakland brought their daughter Dakota and son Reagan to watch the parade.
“We’re just excited to see the lights,” Melissa Baker said. She said it’s amazing how much time was spent decorating some of the trucks.
Brandon Baker was impressed by how many light bulbs can fit on a single vehicle, and that this small town could put together such a great parade. He had recently been in a car accident in which he broke both legs. He said he’s excited to be alive, and to be able to come and see the parade.
“It’s community, you know. This is what we do,” he said.
Reagan said he was looking forward to getting some of the candy that’s always tossed out during the parade, but what he really wanted most for Christmas was for his dad to “get better.”
Winners were announced at the Sutherlin Community Center after the parade. First place for Best of Theme went to Sutherlin Family Church, Second Place to Sutherlin FFA Chapter and third place to Bob Smelcer. Santa’s Favorite winners were first place Chuck Bracelin Trucking, second place South Myrtle Gang and third place Kyle Subantz. Nonprofit category winners were first place District 12 Honor Guard, second place Sutherlin Chamber of Commerce, third place Sutherlin LDS Church. Commercial category winners were first place Jaime Graf Trucking, second place Jensen’s Tree Service and third place Plikat Logging.