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Let the Christmas festivities begin

Orange Heart Foundation and the Rose Festival Group will present a Christmas parade, vendor fair and tree lighting on December 3. It will be full of enjoyment and fun for the whole family.

"It is just really exciting to bring it back the 2nd year. We thank our partners, Wasco High School and the City of Wasco. Nothing happens without them. We are thrilled to be able to do it again," Rose Festival Group member Sharon Sharp said.

The festivities kick off the holiday season.

"It's amazing and sets the tempo going from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It's a good time to get it going," RFG member Juan Gallardo said.

Sharp added, "This marks the first Christmas celebration in Wasco."

There are five Rose Festival Group members in addition to Gallardo and Sharp. Traci Mills-Clendenen, Camilo Vasquez and Orquidea Ocampo make up the rest of the team.

"A group of us came together and responded to the community's demand. We said let's do it," Sharp said.

The festivities will begin at 4 pm with a vendor fair at Seventh Street and Poplar Avenue. There will be original arts & crafts, holiday decorations, delicious food, drinks and treats.

At 6 pm, the Wasco Christmas Parade will travel down Seventh Street beginning at Broadway Street.

"Last year, we had 26 entries registered and a total of 481 participants, which was wonderful. This year, I absolutely believe we will exceed that. We already have 327 participants registered," Sharp said.

The WHS marching band, first responders from the Kern County Fire Department, Wasco State Prison color guard, Cruzin' Oldies Car Club, the wrestling club and cheerleaders, to name a few, will join the parade.

Various churches and schools will participate, like Palm Avenue Middle School, John L. Prueitt Elementary School, and Karl F. Clemens Elementary School.

Miss Wasco Rose Queen Ensley Mehlberg and eight Ms. Kern County Pageant queens will also attend.

"Little girls always love seeing the queens," Sharp said.

Mayor Gilberto Reyna and members of the City Council will ride in the old fire engine as they traditionally do with Santa Claus riding along.

A highlight will be the golf cars.

"There will be about 12, all decorated in garland and Christmas tree lights," Sharp said. "That's always fun."

Community members get to the parade early.

"It's neat to see some people put their blankets and chairs out hours before," Gallardo said. "They like catching up with friends as they walk by."

The lighting of the Christmas tree will begin at 7:15 pm. It will take place in front of the historic Wasco High School Auditorium.

"Having it in front is a gift itself; it's the pinnacle of Wasco because it's been there for 100 years," Gallardo said.

The tree is 26 feet tall. It came from Oregon and was flown out with a helicopter.

Following the tree lighting, the block party will continue until 9 pm.

"It is a time of giving, sharing food and spending time with one another," Gallardo said. "We do it for Wasco."

He added that the planning committee is working hard to make it special for the city.

"Everybody is invited, even people from Bakersfield, Shafter, Delano and McFarland. "Everyone is welcome to come to be a part of the celebration," Sharp said.

Volunteers are still needed, and those interested can email [email protected].


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