City staff crews have been busy in downtown Riverbank this week, preparing for the weekend celebration ahead, marking the beginning of the Christmas season. Where just a few weeks ago, Cheese and Wine banners decorated downtown street light poles, crews have been hard at work hanging holiday banners at Third and Santa Fe streets.
In addition, they were stringing up lights and decorations on the community Christmas Tree at the Plaza del Rio Park last week.
All this work is in preparation for the kick-off of the Holiday Season this coming weekend.
Most of the festivities will come with the day-long celebration on Saturday, Nov. 26, with the 15th Annual Christmas Craft Faire starting at noon outdoors on Third Street, running until 8 p.m. Food and craft vendors also will be working through the parade.
The Craft Faire is exactly that, a craft faire for those talented folks who enjoy embroidery, knitting, crocheting, painting, candle-making, beading, jewelry making, leatherwork, soap-making, etc. This is not a flea market, but in the past the Christmas Committee has allowed antiques to be showcased and sold, upon their approval.
Past afternoon entertainment has included dancers from the Ballet Folklorico group and musicians – both soloists and groups. The Committee is open to other types of entertainment as well; this is non-paid entertainment, but interested persons must still sign up in the Recreation office at Riverbank City Hall North, 6707 Third St., Suite C.
The 48th annual Community Christmas Parade is set to begin at 5:30 p.m., forming at the Community Center, traveling down Santa Fe to Second Street, then returning on Stanislaus Street as in years past. The announcing booth is usually set up at the intersection of Third and Santa Fe, across from Plaza del Rio Park.
The Christmas Parade became a nighttime light parade in 2011, and since that time people keep coming back for more. Attendees are urged to bring your folding chairs, wrap up in a blanket or two, and wear winter boots and a beanie to settle in for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Parade, which is this year’s Parade theme.
Each year parade entries change but there are always have floats, horses, antique vehicles along with some classic rides, motorcycles, marching bands, walking groups, and of course, Santa and his lovely wife.
Following the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will meet with the children and parents are encouraged to bring along their camera or use their cell phones to capture the moment. The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place at this time as well.
After the tree lighting, officials usually announce the category winners from the parade. Throughout the day, the various entertainment groups will take to the Plaza stage with music and dance.
Craft Vendor Applications and Parade Entry Forms are available online, at City Hall North in the Parks and Recreation Department, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information, contact Luanne Bain at 209-869-7128.