Downtown Paso Robles welcomed back Mrs. Claus and the community to turn on the lights in Downtown Park and kick off the holiday season.
This is first time she’s been back since the pandemic started.
Mrs. Claus told KSBY she had a long flight in from the North Pole, “I was not here last year. We spent, you know, it at home like everybody else. We hunkered down and well, you can tell it was a lovely time, but I’m so happy to be back and out among my people.”
Mrs. Claus flipped the switch on 35,000 lights decorating 17 trees. The event itself was free, but people and businesses sponsored trees, tree limbs, and light bulbs to help illuminate the park with over 35,000 lights.
It was all part of a fundraiser called Paso’s Lights of Hope at the Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Candice Sanders is the Executive Director at Cancer Support Community California Central Coast and is a 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 about $25,000 and hope to match last year’s total of around $50,000.
People can still donate on their website.
Cancer Support Community is still accepting donations and the lights will be up through February 2022.
“So our team of licensed therapists provides support groups, health and wellness programs, education and patient navigation, all at no cost. We also provide wigs, scarves, hats for all those who would need them,” she said.
Hundreds of people came to see it all happen.
Jeff, a Paso Robles resident and father, said of his son Ty, “…he was excited for the Christmas carols, the cookies, and we heard there’s some hot cocoa and Mrs. Claus is the icing on the cake, right?”
Chad Stevens, the Co-Chair of the Light Up the Downtown, dressed up in a suit and a top hat to emcee part of the event, “Mrs. Claus lighting the town, the snow king and queen from the North Pole will also be here, and I heard a rumor that the Grinch may try and crash the party and if he does we’re going to try and get him in the holiday spirit also.”
And some children were showing their siblings what the holidays mean to them.
Emerie told KSBY, “Because she [Emerie’s sister] never actually seen a tree be lit before, so I’m excited to show her what a tree looks like when it’s being lit. I’m excited to see Mrs. Claus and I am going to sing carols with her.”