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Kick off the holiday season with parades, tree lightings this weekend

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Posted at 2:58 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 00:35:25-05

The Central Coast is plunging headfirst into the holiday season, with parades, Christmas tree lightings and other festive events scheduled across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties through the weekend.

For families and locals looking to participate, events kick off Friday afternoon and continue through Sunday.


At 3:30 p.m., Morro Bay is hosting a holiday tree lighting event. Community members are invited out to City Park, at 734 Harbor St., for performances, hot cider, cookies and a visit from Santa. Activities will run until dusk.

Atascadero is hosting their "Light Up the Downtown" celebration kick-off at 5:30 p.m. It will start at the Sunken Gardens, at 6505 El Camino Real, with the annual countdown to light up City Hall. Organizers say visitors can enjoy live music, look out for Santa and Mrs. Claus, join in on free hay rides and fire truck rides. Lighthouse Coffee will provide free hot chocolate.

Families can also head over to Atascadero High School from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for the school's Glow, Shine, Sparkle Reverse Holiday Parade for drive-through stationary light-up floats built by the student clubs on campus.

The 45th Annual Holiday Parade in downtown San Luis Obispo will kick off around 7 p.m., bringing the procession down Monterey, Osos and Higuera Sts. The parade is expected to last about two hours, and many downtown roads will be closed starting at 4:30 p.m. The city encourages visitors to park in the parking structures on Palm and Marsh Sts. as street parking will be limited.

Pismo Beach is lighting up their Holiday Harmony Christmas Tree at the end of the pier at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Santa Maria's Christmas Tree lighting event will begin at the City Hall Courtyard at the corner of Cook St. and Broadway. Refreshments, crafts, pictures with Santa and holiday caroling will kick off at about 5 p.m., and the 24-ft. Christmas tree will be lit at around 5:30 p.m.

Visitors can see the Old Town Orcutt Christmas Tree lighting at 7 p.m. in front of the Orcutt Lions Club, at the corner of Clark Ave. and Broadway. The Orcutt Lions are hosting a Holiday Bazaar, and visitors can enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies.

Solvang will light their Christmas tree in Solvang Park, at the corner of Mission Dr. and First St. on Friday night. The event starts at 5 p.m. and goes through 6:30 p.m. as part of the city's continued Julefest activities.

Lompoc's Christmas Parade begins at 6 p.m. The parade is themed "Home for the Holidays." The procession is set to begin at the corner of Pine Ave. and H St. Floats will head south on H St., turn west on Ocean Ave., and head south to I St., and organizers say it will last about one hour. Following the parade, organizers will announce parade winners and light the Christmas tree at Centennial Park. Free hot cocoa and cookies will be available, and families can visit Santa.

Santa Barbara's Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Block Party will run from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday night. The block party is on State St. between Sola St. and Victoria St. Visitors can look ahead to live music and photo ops with Santa.


The town of Harmony will host its second annual Harmony Christmas Market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. It will feature vendors, food trucks and ice cream treats.

Morro Bay residents can head to the Morro Bay Community Center for breakfast with Santa, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tickets cost $10 and include a pancake breakfast and festive activities.

The Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade will start at 6:30 p.m. on the Embarcadero and will feature a parade of lit boats competing for the $500 first place prize. Visitors can enjoy live music and photos with Santa.

At 10 a.m., Los Osos is holding their 33rd annual Christmas "Parade of Thanks" along Los Osos Valley Rd. from Fairchild Way to Palisades Ave. Attendees can arrive early for a pancake breakfast hosted by the Kiwanis Club in front of Bay Auto and Tire.

Paso Robles is holding their 60th Annual Christmas Parade. Street closures will include portions of Spring St., Park St. and Pine St. and will begin around 4 p.m. The parade itself will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., organizers say.

At about 12:59 p.m. on Saturday, Santa Claus will arrive at the Amtrak Station in San Luis Obispo on the Pacific Surfliner. He will head to the Railroad Museum and will spend the afternoon in the museum's lounge car for visits and photos.

The Historic Jack House and Gardens at 536 Marsh St. in San Luis Obispo is hosting free tours for a Victorian Christmas. Tours are available from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 and 11, and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5 and 12th.

From 5 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab is hosting the 17th Annual Arroyo Grande Christmas Parade in the Village of Arroyo Grande.

In Grover Beach, community members can come out at 10 a.m. on Saturday for the 54th Annual South County Holiday Parade, which will begin at the intersection of W. Grand Ave. and 16th St. The procession will head toward Ramona Garden Park, where there will be live music, hot cocoa, snacks and craft vendors. Five Cities Fire Authority firefighters will be collecting toys for the Season of Hope Toy Drive to load onto their fire truck.

The Solvang Christmas Parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday and will bring over 400 participants out marching and cruising down the streets. The parade will follow Alisal Rd., Copenhagen Dr. and nearby streets. Organizers say Santa Claus will be present for the festivities.

Lompoc Parks and Recreation is inviting residents out for a hot breakfast with Santa Claus at the Dick DeWees Community and Senior Center at 1120 W. Ocean Ave. Two time slots are available, at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Children ages 3-12 can eat for $7 and those 13 and older can eat for $!2. Children under three are free. The department asks attendees to pre-register online or by calling 805-875-8100.

Carpinteria is hosting holiday festivities downtown with events at the Koch Courtyard running throughout the day on Saturday. The Rotary Club is hosting a pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. The arts center is hosting the Community Holiday Festival from 1 to 4 p.m. which will include food, music, visits with Santa and free hot cocoa and cider.


On Sunday, visitors and residents can head to Ocean Ave. and D St. in Cayucos for the 5 p.m. Christmas tree lighting. The event will include Christmas carols, cookies and hot cocoa and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

In Paso Robles, Highlands Church is hosting a Winter Spectacular from 5 to 8 p.m. Visitors can look out for snow sledding, live music, bounce houses, food trucks and photos with Santa. The event will be at the Highlands Church Plaza at 215 Oak Hill Rd.

Arroyo Grande's Village will be the site of this year's Elegant Christmas event. It will run from noon to 7 p.m. in the village, with festive signs of the season, including lights, music, carolers, and a visit from Santa Claus.

In Nipomo, families can enjoy Christmas the old-fashioned way with the Olde Towne Nipomo Family Christmas at the corner of Tefft St. and Thompson Rd. The celebration, which lasts from 2 to 8 p.m., will include a Christmas parade, tree lighting ceremony, train rides, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a s'more fire pit area. The parade will head down Tefft St. at 5:30 p.m., and the tree will be lit at 6:15 p.m.