Nov. 29, 2017 — The winter holiday season officially kicked off locally on Nov. 25 with a series of Christmas related events sponsored by Florence Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Florence.
Historic Old Town was the focus of the Holiday Festival, which took place during “Small Business Saturday,” when people were encouraged to “shop small” at local businesses. Merchants along Bay Street reported brisk business during the day and well into the evening.
Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at the Gazebo Park around 3:30 p.m. by way of a fire engine provided by Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue. More than 100 youngsters and their parents were on hand to greet the jolly couple. Youths waited patiently in line to take a picture and chat with Santa throughout the event.
As Florence Mayor Joe Henry predicted, the rain subsided just before Santa's arrival.
Tractor-pulled hayrides were offered from Old Town to the parking lot of the Port of Siuslaw.
The festivities continued once dark settled in. At 5:30 p.m., Henry lit the official city Christmas tree to cheers and “ahhhhs” from the jovial crowd. This is the first holiday for the permanent 22-foot living grand fir at the Siuslaw River Bridge Interpretive Center on Bay Street.
Florence Public Works installed more lights this year than in the past.
In addition, the Port of Siuslaw Marina featured the Light Your Boat Float. A number of boats were festooned for the occasion, and a U.S. Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River motor lifeboat was lit and docked for residents to view and explore.
According to the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, the trophy went to Peter and An'ya of the So...fea.
Festive events took place throughout the weekend, and will continue all month. Look for more information in the Siuslaw News.