37th annual Downtown Lighting Ceremony brings awareness for Cancer Support Community California Central Coast

PASO ROBLES — For its 12th year, the annual Lights of Hope fundraiser is ready to illuminate the Paso Robles City Park brighter than ever this Friday, Nov. 24. Supporting the Cancer Support Community California Central Coast (CSC-CCC), the City of Paso Robles has joined to bring in additional lights full of color, snowflakes and icicles to create a winter wonderland in the heart of downtown.

CSC-CCC Executive Director Candice Sanders told Paso Robles Press, this year’s event is one the community will not want to miss.

“Its going to be more of a winter wonderland,” she said. “I can’t wait.”

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.” The Lights of Hope fundraiser is one of CSC-CCC’s most anticipated and largest fundraisers of the year.

Traditionally, patrons make donations to sponsor lighting a tree in the Paso Robles City Park, with the tree remaining lit typically until February. These funds sponsor more than 25 programs per month, which includes support groups, social activities, mind/body therapies, individual counseling, and educational seminars. All programs are offered at no cost and designed to support cancer patients, their families, and caregivers throughout their cancer journey.

Looking back on the past 11 months with the nonprofit, Sanders says, “Its been a year of growth for us and we feel like we’ve shaken [off] the pandemic. All of our groups are available now in person. People are starting to come back into our center. We are starting to be able to grow that strength in our community that we were missing during COVID.”

Sanders is also looking forward to next year’s Fryer’s Club Roast which will be held on Cinco de Mayo. The next “roastee,” Sanders says, is sure to excite the community. Other fundraisers benefiting CSC-CCC are their annual Tour of Paso bike ride and their Gala. While this year’s fundraisers weren’t record-breakers in funds raised, the nonprofit was able to make it close to their goals.

Also in the New Year, Sanders says they look forward to working with Ancient Peak Winery’s Walk for Cancer in October 2024. For two years the winery has hosted a Walk for Cancer through their vineyards on Santa Margarita Ranch.

The “Lights of Hope” lighting ceremony is put on in partnership with the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association, which brings in Mrs. Claus and the Snow King and Queen. This year marks the 37th annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony for the city where the community will gather in the park with lit candles to help Mrs. Claus with the countdown to turn on the lights while singing classic carols.

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.

Sanders notes that while the holidays are a joyous time, it can also be a reminder of loss for some.

“Our hope is that the lights bring joy to the community but we are also honoring our cancer patient survivors and those we have lost to cancer,” she said. 

Find more information on “Lights of Hope” here, cscslo.org/Support-Our-Work/Lights-of-Hope