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November 18, 2009 > Santa is on his way

Santa is on his way

By Meenu Gupta

Sleigh bells ring and a jolly "Ho, Ho, Ho" are reminders of a new Christmas season. Santa will be cruising into town to light up the streets, bringing a magical air to every city. Tri-City area tree lightings begin with the Niles Parade and Tree Lighting on the Friday following Thanksgiving. In rapid succession, other tree lighting ceremonies will take place and set the stage for the holiday season.

Get into the spirit of the season by marveling at new floats, cheering parade entries and listening to marching bands at the Niles Christmas parade sponsored by the Niles Merchants Association. In addition to well-known and traditional entries, this year's parade will feature children's favorite storybook characters including Madeline, Winnie the Pooh and Corduroy Bear. Specialty units and a Tap Dancing Christmas Trees will also join the fun. Newcomers Charlie Brown and Gang, Sharkie and the gingerbread man will take part in the parade this year.

As the first of many tree lightings that follow Thanksgiving, Niles takes its role as the premiere event with a passion. No holds are barred as the spirit of the season permeates every corner of this historic district of Fremont. Niles Boulevard is filled with people of all ages who come to celebrate the beginning of traditional holiday cheer, activities, and events. Stores will remain open to help shoppers find a unique gift for that special someone.

The Festival of Lights Parade is supported by fundraisers and donations. Those interested in making a donation to the Festival of Lights parade or volunteering for the event are invited to visit For more information call (510) 792-8023.

Following the Niles tree lighting, Centerville Business and Community Association will welcome Santa at its tree lighting ceremonies on Sunday, November 29. This annual event sponsored by Tri-City Voice, Fremont Flowers, Dale Hardware, Available Self Storage will feature raffle prizes, free cookies, hot chocolate and the promise of a lot of fun for the entire family. A live performance by 'What the Dickens' singing Christmas carols will add to the festive atmosphere as. Mr. & Mrs. Claus arrive on the train at 4:44 p.m. Children can tell Santa what they want for Christmas and have their picture taken with him to remember the visit ($3). Santa will use his magical powers to light the tree at 6 p.m.

So bundle up the kids and hit the streets, you'll want to be there when Santa comes to town.

Friday, November 27
Niles Festival of Lights Parade and Holiday Tree Lighting
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Niles Blvd., Niles District (Fremont)
(510) 792-8023

Centerville Tree Lighting
Sunday, November 29
3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Centerville Train Depot
37260 Fremont Blvd., Centerville District
(510) 790-9398

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