City Park transforms into a winter wonderland supporting Cancer Support Community
PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles City Park was brighter than ever Friday night on Nov. 24 for the 37th Annual Light up Downtown and 12th annual Lights of Hope fundraiser. Supporting the Cancer Support Community California Central Coast (CSC-CCC), the City of Paso Robles joined to bring in additional lights full of color, snowflakes and icicles to create a winter wonderland in the heart of downtown.
The event that officially kicks off the holiday season in Paso Robles was welcomed with a park filled with people to sing carols. This year, the Paso Robles City decided they wanted to join the Paso Robles Main Street Association in bringing more lights to the City Park.
“I’ve had the privilege of attending the downtown lighting ceremonies for a couple decades now,” said City Manager Ty Lewis on the inception of the lighting plan. “After becoming city manager and attending last year’s event, I talked with Freda Berman (our public works director) about how we might improve. We thought about some of the other communities that have some pretty fantastic lighting events and hatched the idea to light the park better than ever.”
Bigger and brighter was certainly the theme for Friday night as the Main Street Association ran out of candles that were passed out to the crowds. Some people arrived around 3 p.m. to claim their seats near the park gazebo where City Councilmembers and Mrs. Claus led the crowd in carols.
“I had been to the tree lighting in previous years but this was spectacular,” said newly appointed Councilmember Sharon Roden. “I love Christmas, so this kind of event hits home for me. So many turned out for the occasion, and in every direction I looked, there was a sea of smiles and candlelight. The Grinch outdid himself this year and was a kid’s favorite. A big thank you to all those who made this event possible. And a special thank you to Norma Moye, who continues to be an inspiration to us all for her hard work and love of our town.”
Lewis explained the process in getting the lights to the park. After Berman and her team drafted proposals and sent out bids, they received a winner from Los Angeles Christmas Light Installers who came out to create the “winter wonderland” display.
“We elicited support from Main Street, Travel Paso, and, of course, the [Paso Robles and Templeton] Chamber of Commerce,” added Lewis. “The chamber ultimately helped sponsor the awesome Selfie Display. Overwhelmingly, our community stakeholders encouraged us to ‘own the holidays’ and felt this was a fantastic way to draw attention to our lovely downtown while bringing some holiday cheer to our community.”
Lewis says the city hopes that this new and improved light tradition will grow each year so long as they can fund it. They are currently looking at options for offering community sponsorships for the future but that will come in due time.
“A big thank you to Freda Berman and her PW team, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street, Travel Paso, and the Wine Country Alliance for their wonderful support and promotion,” he said.
The Light up the Downtown event coincides with one of the Cancer Support Community California Central Coast’s (CSC) largest fundraisers of the year, Lights of Hope.
While CSC did not make their fundraising goal this year, Executive Director at CSC-CCC Candice Sanders says they are still thankful for the event.
“We are definitely shy of our goal, but every little bit helps, and this is a great opportunity for people to learn about cancer support community and for people to know that we are here,” she said. “It’s not just about raising the money, but it’s also about raising awareness.”
The mission of CSC-CCC is to help those affected by cancer and their loved ones. They offer support through numerous programs “so that no one faces cancer alone,” according to Sanders
The nonprofit still has three small trees and four large trees available for sponsorship. However, Sanders stresses that any donation of any size is appreciated.
New this year is a tree in the center of the park has been dedicated to those lost to and affected by cancer. One of which that was on many people’s minds Friday night was the late Mayor Steve Martin, who passed away on Monday, Aug. 14, after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
“Mayor Martin was in our thoughts and definitely on everyone’s mind this year during the celebration,” added Sanders.
Turning on the lights is just the beginning of Christmas festivities in Paso Robles. On Saturday, Dec. 2, the 62nd Annual Christmas Lights Parade will bring the arrival of the big man in red and light up downtown Paso Robles once again.
Find more information on “Lights of Hope” here, cscslo.org/Support-Our-Work/Lights-of-Hope
Feature Image: The Bastas family enthusiastically sings along at the 37th annual Light up Downtown in Paso Robles City Park on Friday, Nov. 24. Photo by Camille DeVaul