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Rain doesn't dampen holiday spirit

Lights On Celebration and downtown parade goes on as planned, kick-starting the holidays
Members of the Hollister Heat softball team wish parade-goers a happy holiday.
Santa and Mrs. Claus were not deterred by the rain.
A float on a flatbed trailer in front of the Granada Theater on Fifth Street.
Hollisters Fault Line Derby Devilz roller derby team skate down the parade route.
Jake Skellington on a dirt bike representing Hollister Hills.
A snow princess waves to the crowd in front of The Vault.
The youth band and choir plays through the rain.
Brigantino Irrigation float riders wave to the crowd along the curb.
The HPS Parents' Club waked the parade in stick figure glow suits.
The Tri-City Band Corps readies to perform.

“A Night Before Christmas” was the theme for the 26th annual Lights On Celebration on Saturday and the day's other holiday venues at various spots in downtown Hollister.

Early in the day, people had already begun to reserve their seats on the sidewalk of San Benito Street for a close-up of the parade that would begin at 5:30 p.m.

Hollister Downtown Association Executive Director Brenda Weatherly said planners were not deterred by the coming rain. “We will have a parade rain or shine for as many people who show up. We adjust the program for a rain venue,” she said.

It wasn’t freezing, but definitely coat weather, but nothing seemed to deter those stout people who showed up to take part in the town parade.

It started to rain, umbrellas came out, and one person was seen with a plastic bag on her head.

At about the time people began to show up for the Lights On parade, the Mars Hill Coffeehouse welcomed people in for a hot drink.

“We have the whole staff here tonight. It’s great. We love to work together,” Darla Hernandez said, adding, “This is one of our busiest nights of the year.”

By 5 p.m., the coffee house had a line from the coffee service area to the front door.

People were also warming up in some of the stores that remained open, such as a smoke shop, and the San Benito Bene store.

The Holiday Boutique, inside the Veterans’ Memorial Building, was another warming-up venue with music played by Joe Ostenson’s, Mr. O’s Academy of the Arts, and a variety of booths.

A tenor sax player, Les Pierce, said Mr. O was his music teacher in junior high school.

Heather Hickerson and Cindy Gillen were seated at a booth for the Women’s Club raffle, with the proceeds of the raffle to benefit charities.

Serenity Crafters, owned by Shawn Sinclair, sold wood crafted products, but it was the melted snowman ornament that caught the attention of many.

Sara Avila, of Hecho Con Carino, sold many homemade craft items, including an outdoor hanging cup and saucer combination with bird seed.

By 5 p.m., San Benito Street was full of people, and the parade got started on time. It consisted of around 80 entrees, and right after the parade, pictures with Santa were available outside the Veterans’ Building.

Photos by Lisa Robinson-Ward, unless otherwise noted.

For even more photos from the event, courtesy of Gary Cameron, click here.

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Laureen Diephof (Freelance writer)

Laureen has been in the communication business for many years as a photojournalist, columnist, and blogger.She served as reporter and columnist for South Monterey County Newspapers. She reported for the Soledad Bee and the Gonzales Tribune, and is currently writing feature stories for the Salinas Californian. From 2012-13, She was on a one year journey beginning in the Arctic Circle to the Sahara Desert, and many countries and small islands in between. After that she joined AmeriCorps, and served as the volunteer coordinator for the Arts Council for Monterey County. When the 10 month service was completed, she took the earned stipend and used it in Cambodia, where she stayed on a Buddhist Pagoda with the Monks and Nuns. She has written a book about her one year journey and hopes to get it published soon. Her website is: She lives in Aromas with her cat Pharaoh.

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