Holiday events planned, hoped for this season

Press file photo

The streets were filled with spectators as the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce hosted the 37th annual Holiday Parade in downtown Brentwood last year. This season, the event will look a little different with a drive by event on Dec. 12, but no live performances.

Oakley and Brentwood are working hard to plan fun, safe holiday activities for their residents. The two towns have come up with fun activities to showcase the spirit of the season while keeping participants safely distanced.

In Brentwood, the chamber of commerce will sponsor its annual holiday parade this year with a few changes.

“It will be a reverse parade,” said coordinator Vicky Little. “That means the parade floats will be parked on the side of the road in the downtown parking spots, and we will take reservations for vehicles to be able to drive through the middle of the street and look at the parade on the left and right.”

Little noted state and county health restrictions did make things difficult, and the city’s parks and recreation department almost didn’t get approval for the event. In the end, the permits were granted by the county and the planning began. The event should proceed even with the county sitting in the purple tier of the state’s COVID-19 rating system.

“We won’t be able to have live performances, but the downtown businesses will be encouraged to decorate their windows and we are looking at trying to promote a week of looking at downtown businesses and window shopping to enjoy the holiday season in Brentwood.”

This year’s theme is The Holiday Express and centers around the classic Christmas film, “The Polar Express.” Little said parade participants will incorporate pieces of the movie in floats and décor throughout the parade to keep things interactive and exciting. She also encourages those driving through to wear pajamas and sip hot cocoa.

This parade will be a collaboration between the chamber, the City of Brentwood, the Downtown Coalition, 110 Magazine, the Rotary Club of Brentwood, The Press and other local businesses. With all the talented helping hands, Little is hoping to get the parade broadcast, so families at home can enjoy it as well. Information on that – if it becomes available – will be posted on the chamber’s website.

The Chamber of Commerce Holiday Drive Through Parade is a free event and will be held Saturday, Dec. 12, from 4-9 p.m., rain or shine. Vehicles must be registered to drive through. For more information, visit https://www.brentwoodchamber.com/ or call 925-634-3344. To register, visit https://www.brentwoodca.gov/gov/parks/default.asp.

Oakley’s Parks and Recreation department has also been busy planning fun events for Oakley residents. Lindsey Bruno, recreation manager for the City of Oakley, said her team has several upcoming events, including a letters to Santa campaign that is going digital. Some events, like the Winter Wonderland and Winter Camp, may be affected by which tier the county is in next month.

“As of  the state press conference (on Monday), they had not announced new restrictions that would modify these programs that have been implemented in purple tier from the last time Contra Costa County was in the purple tier,” said Bruno. “Both the winter camp and drive through activities are permitted in the current purple tier blueprint.”

The city’s drive-thru Winter Wonderland will take place Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza, which will be transformed into a seasonal fantasy land, complete with Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Workshop, reindeer stables and more. Guests are encouraged to decorate their cars with garland, lights and other seasonal décor as the adventure will conclude with a unique photo opportunity with Santa from the safety of the car. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. For more information, contact Cindy at 925-625-7044 or coelho@ci.oakley.ca.us, or to register, visit www.ci.oakley.ca.us/registration.

To get in the spirit of the season right in your own home, residents can participate in the annual Hometown Holiday Decorating contest or write a letter to Santa through the city’s website. For more information on these activities, visit www.ci.oakley.ca.us or email bruno@ci.oakley.ca.us.

Oakley has also planned two Winter Camps, one in person, and one packaged to take home. For more information, cost and registration, visit www.ci.oakley.ca.us/registration or call 925-625-7041.

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