An Evening of Holiday Magic Downtown

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Light up the Night

By Angie Helvey, Contributing Writer |Photos courtesy of Tyler Nizer and Tyler Franke

The Christmas season is here, and it’s time to join your friends, family, and neighbors on Friday, December 1st, for the 22nd Annual “Light Up the Night.” The dazzling light displays ignite the holiday spirit in the hearts of all ages, as you know if you’ve ever visited downtown Canby in December. This year’s decorations are the most beautiful yet, so don’t miss one moment of this magical night!

A lighted parade kicks off the evening at 6pm, beginning near Knight School and looping through downtown before ending at the gazebo in the heart of Wait Park and near the base of the town’s tremendous Christmas tree. Floats by local businesses and classic cars adorned with colorful, glittering lights will march through, followed by the Canby Police and, finally, the Canby Fire District as they deliver Santa and Mrs. Claus to the park. Santa will be heartily welcomed with cheers from the crowd and the holiday harmonies of The Oregon Trail Pitchpipers, a Barbershop Harmony Society musical group.

Then, it’s time to announce “Who Lights Up Canby?” Voted on by the town, the winner of this title contributes to the community all year long and embodies the city’s spirit through kindness and positive energy. “Part of what makes Canby so unique is the people who are here to support our local businesses, our local events and our children,” explains Jamie Stickel, Economic Development Director & Communications Specialist for the city. “We want to showcase these stories and have an opportunity for them to light up the park.”

When the winner flips the switch and the lights go on, the explosion of excitement and joy amongst the crowd is palpable. “That moment is pure holiday magic,” says Economic Development & Tourism Coordinator Tyler Nizer. “You see the joy on people’s faces, from little children to grandparents.” Canby Parks and Public Works creates the delightful display, and they start working on it right after Halloween. “So much time and effort goes into making it look different and unique every year; they always switch up the theme,” Tyler says.

Once the park is lit, the celebration continues with holiday music by Willamette Valley Big Band, and children of all ages are invited to chat and take a photo with Santa. Local organizations will be handing out complimentary treats like hot chocolate and glow sticks, and it’s the perfect night to check out local downtown businesses to grab a bite or do a little Christmas shopping.

The event always occurs on the first Friday in December, so mark your calendar this year for a fun evening of sparkling holiday cheer. “Canby is a special place year-round, so this event is all of that goodness in one,” Jamie says. “Everyone has that childlike spirit and wonder. It’s something we’re really proud of. It’s one of those small-town events you hear about, and it’s just as wonderful as you could imagine.”

Light Up the Night is sponsored by the City of Canby, Astound Broadband and Columbia Distributing. For parade registration at no cost, or if you’re a resident, business, or nonprofit looking to get involved, contact Tyler Nizer at