WEEKEND: Forks Twinkle Light Parade to illuminate cold December night
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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“Per capita, it's bigger than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Janet Hughes founder of the parade and co-owner of JT's Sweet Stuffs candy shop in Forks.
The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Forks Avenue at C Street and will go to Wood Avenue.
It will follow such Saturday events as Breakfast with Santa, a Holiday Bazaar and a Santa Bucks drawing and will precede a Moonlight Madness sale.
Nobody knows how many entries will show up; there is no advance registration, Hughes said.
But she does know that the 2012 parade will be led by the Coast Guard, followed by community entries with tin soldiers, the Grinch, Smurfs, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and many floats.
Every entry has lights of some kind, ranging from generator-powered fancy light sculptures to flashlights carried by children.
“It's really gotten elaborate,” Hughes said.
Organizers hoped to have the newly re-formed Forks High School band in the parade to provide music, but the band wasn't ready this year, she said.
Hughes said the parade is special in that everyone can enjoy without regard to how much money they have for gifts and holiday celebrations.
Weather part of parade
Wind and weather have simply been a part of the parade, she said, with some past parades taking place in 5 inches of snow, while others were in rain or under clear, cold skies.
“If the wind is south to north, the parade takes 10 minutes,” she said.
“If it's from north to south, it takes 20,” she added.
Hughes and her husband, Tom, started the parade in 2001 after they moved to Forks from Longview and missed the Christmas parade.
In that first year, they asked the police chief of the time for a permit and were told that closing U.S. Highway 101 — a main thoroughfare — was impossible, even just for 15 minutes.
“I said, 'Forks? In December? At night?'” Hughes said with a laugh.
The couple took their parade idea to the Forks City Council and soon had a parade permit, she said.
In the 11 years since that first parade, it has become an instant tradition in Forks.
“People tell me they remember the parade going back years. I just smile because I know exactly how many years,” Hughes said.
Breakfast with Santa
Children may bounce out of bed early Saturday for an 8 a.m. Breakfast with Santa at the Forks Congregational Church, 280 Spartan Ave.
Breakfast includes scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, french toast and biscuits with sausage gravy, and is $5 for adults and $3 for children age 11 and younger.
Photos with Santa Claus will be available for $5.
The breakfast is sponsored by the West End Business and Professional Association.
After breakfast, the Forks Holiday Bazaar will be open from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. at the Forks High School Commons, 261 Spartan Ave.
The first Santa Bucks drawing will take place at 1 p.m. at Forks Outfitters, 950 S. Forks Ave.
Shoppers receive one ticket for visiting a business and one ticket for each $10 in purchases to enter into the drawing.
Winners will receive a variety of gift certificates to participating Forks-area stores.
Additional drawings will take place Dec. 8, 15 and 22.
Forks merchants will close for the parade but reopen after it and stay open until 10 p.m. for a Moonlight Madness sale.
Merchants will have special bargains, gifts and prizes for shoppers.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: November 29. 2012 5:47PM