The Wasco Recreation and Parks District will hold its annual "Light up Wasco Community Cruise" event on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 18 and 19. Participants can drive in their vehicles or take the Dial-a-Ride bus to tour over 23 homes that are colorfully decorated and brightly lit with Christmas lights.
The festivities begin at 5 p.m. at the Veterans Hall across from the WRPD office, 1202 Poplar Northside. Santa will be there, as well as the Gingerbread Man. There, you can pick up a cruise map, some hot chocolate and a cookie to take on the cruise route.
WRPD Manager Chris Serna said, "The Light Up Wasco event is a fun way to ring in the holiday season by bringing our community together to celebrate the beauty and magic of Christmas with family and friends."
Families and community members who go in their cars follow the Dial-a-Ride bus/buses and cruise throughout the city, looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations of those who registered their homes for the event.
WRPD provides a panel of judges that go out to participating homes to determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner, which will be announced Friday, Dec. 22, on the WRPD social media platforms. 1st place receives $100, 2nd place $75 and 3rd place $50.
The event was inspired by the covid-19 pandemic. WRPD wanted an event that would get the community involved in the joy and spirit of Christmas "and also allow our families/community members to get out of their homes as a family unit to take a cruise and see the beautiful lights/decorations of the homes of those who participated. It began as a noncontact event," Serna said.
The Dial-a-Ride component came to be in 2021 with a partnership with the City of Wasco to provide rides for those families, community members, seniors and others who may not have a car to take the cruise or may not be able to afford to fill up their gas tank to cruise around to see the Light Up homes..
"It's a really neat partnership I appreciate the city for."
Anyone interested in getting transportation on either Dec. 18 or 19 must call Dial-a-Ride at 661-758-7222 to reserve a seat; there will be two one-hour tours per night. Seating is limited.
There is still time to register your home on the WRPD website (wascoparks.recdesk.com); the deadline is Saturday, Dec. 16.
Serna said there also will be Christmas music. "To spread the joy of this beautiful time of year" and said it will be entertainment for the whole family.
"You can take your loved ones, your kiddos, siblings, spouses, parents, grandparents, aunties/uncles, nieces/nephews, friends, furry friends and so on to get out and see the beautiful lights/decorations that Light Up Wasco participants worked so hard for you to see and to get into the Christmas spirit all while enjoying each other's company!"