Let there be light!
Santa and Mrs. Claus were able to sneak into Riverbank to carry out a most important duty this past Friday, that of officially lighting the city’s Christmas Tree in Plaza del Rio Park. With a handful of Santa’s pixie dust, the tree and its lights came alive with illumination.
The jolly old fellow didn’t let the Grinch who forced cancellation of this year’s Christmas Parade and Crafts Faire keep him from his duties, on the evening of Dec. 4. COVID was the culprit, as in most cases for canceled events this year.
Presided over by Riverbank Mayor Richard D. O’Brien, the brief tree lighting festivities were streamed via the internet to the city’s Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as its YouTube outlet. That at least allowed locals to enjoy the annual event, albeit virtually.
Additional sets of holiday lights encircle almost every landscape tree in the downtown region, as well.
Normally, the weekend after Thanksgiving in downtown Riverbank is reserved for a lighted night parade, along with a Christmas Craft Faire. Santa and Mrs. Claus usually bring up the end of the parade, riding in a fire engine.
After the parade, category winners are announced, then Santa and his wife sneak back to the park to help light the tree, applying a healthy dose of his pixie dust.
After that, he usually takes time to meet with area youngsters, just in case they have any last minute wishes he needs to hear.
This time, the couple was here in town just long enough to light the tree, but Santa was able to leave a number of candy canes for the few youngsters who were in the neighborhood of the tree lighting.