35,000 lights illuminated 17 oak trees for the Lights of Hope fundraiser

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles City Park was filled to the brim with families and community members on Friday, Nov. 26, to turn on the lights and begin the holiday season.

At 6 p.m., the light switch was flipped, and 35,000 lights illuminated 17 park oak trees. 

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Following the lighting ceremony, the crowd lit their candles and sang carols with Chad Stevens, the Co-Chair of the Light Up the Downtown, dressed up in a suit and a top hat to lead the singing along with the Snow King and Queen and Mrs. Claus all if the goal to grow the Grinch’s heart and show his Christmas spirit.

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin and Councilman John Hamon, with his wife Marjorie, joined the sing-along as well.

Although the Grinch was a bit stubborn at first, he eventually came around. I mean, who can resist singing along to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer?

Mayor Martin concluded, “Everything went smoothly. We managed to convert the Grinch to Christmas, which is a good news thing. Mrs. Claus said we definitely have sufficient Christmas Spirit for Santa Clause to show up at the Christmas Parade, so we’re very happy about that. And we had a great time singing together and holding our candles together, and it was a very successful and happy event.”

It has been said that the Grinch’s soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots! But he managed to leave that all behind and danced the night away with Mrs. Claus. One may even say his heart grew two sizes!

Mrs. Claus talks about her favorite part of the night, “I like the ending of the night where the Grinch finally gives in, and I get to hug the children. That’s my favorite. That’s why I do it, just for the children.”

Turning on the lights is just the beginning of Christmas festivities in Paso Robles. This Saturday, Dec. 4, is the 60th Annual Christmas Lights Parade. And the big man in red is sure to make an appearance.

Mrs. Claus said, “I already texted Santa and said to pack his bags. He needs to be here next week for the parade!”

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Of course, the lights, carols, and cocoa are fun and, honestly, one of the best ways to begin the holiday fun, but the lights covering the Paso Robles City Park oak trees represent something that affects us all year long.

The lighting ceremony was of the Paso’s Lights of Hope fundraiser for the Cancer Support Community California Central Coast (CSC-CCC).

Candice Sanders, the Executive Director at CSC-CCC, is an ovarian cancer survivor herself.

She said, “We do invite businesses and individuals to sponsor either a bulb, a branch, a limb, or an entire tree to honor their loved ones that they’ve either lost to cancer or to celebrate those who have been impacted by cancer.”

All donations go toward local families. So far, they’ve raised a little over $20,000 and hope to match last year’s total of around $50,000. CSC-CCC is still accepting donations and hopes to make it close to their average of $40,000.

“It was heartwarming to see everybody. It was a great way to kick off the holiday season. Everyone gathered for a good cause as well as to get them in the holiday spirit,” said Sanders.

CSC-CCC is still accepting donations, and the lights will be up through February 2022.

People can still donate by visiting cscslo.org/Support-Our-Work/Lights-of-Hope.

A special thank you to this year’s Lights of Hope Tree Sponsors:

  • Pamela Niner & Niner Wine Estates
  • Re/Max Success & Success Charities
  • Cindy and Karl Wittstrom
  • Thom Schulz in Honor of Laura Coast
  • Humanity Wine Project in Memory of James Jones
  • Pete and Elena Clark
  • Adelaide Inn
  • Jack Weist
  • Paso Market Walk & The Lofts at Paso Market Walk
  • Hotel Cheval