What's new at Community Christmas when it returns to downtown Yreka?

Jessica Skropanic
Siskiyou Daily News
A float at the Holiday Parade. The event returns on Nov. 27 in downtown Yreka after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yreka ushers in the holiday season at the 2021 Community Christmas celebration on Nov. 27 in the downtown area.

The North Siskiyou County Chamber of Commerce brings this outdoor holiday celebration back with bling after most events were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year's theme is "together again," chamber Executive Director Crystal Stiles said.

Here is what to know about festivities in a post-pandemic world.

What's new this year?

Got a fabulous chili recipe? Enter the chili cookoff in the Tri Counties Bank parking lot at 165 S. Broadway St. There are prizes for best red, best white, best game, hottest and best overall chili. There's also face painting and a cornhole match. Registration costs $10. Go to the chamber's Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3n3u4fW to register. 

This year's tree lighting includes a new feature: A luminary memorial and celebration. People can buy a bag luminary for $1 and write the names of the people they love on it, Stiles said. The luminaries will be arranged under the Yreka city Christmas tree at the Fire Department.

2021 Siskiyou County Community Christmas: This year features a Twinkle Tunnel – a walk-through arch with lights.

Twelve Siskiyou County elementary schools compete in a tree-decorating contest in the Merchants Bank of Commerce parking lot at 200 S. Broadway St. The winning school receives a $250 Visa card. Decorated trees will be sold by silent auction.

Why should the Little Drummer Boy have all the fun? Bring your drum to perform freestyle at the drum-off battle at 2 p.m. on Liberty Arts Plaza, 108 W. Miner St. Spectators choose the winner, Stiles said.

Also new this year: Walk through a Twinkle Tunnel — an arched structure covered with lights. "We have a really cool candy cane entrance," Stiles said.

What's the biggest no-miss event?

The 73rd annual Holiday Parade is back after it was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Trophies are awarded for best float in first through third place. Other categories include WOW factor and enthusiasm.

A float at the Holiday Parade and Night of Lights Community Christmas in 2019.

Entries include parade floats, marching bands, people walking in lit-up costumes, vintage vehicles and LED dancers, Stiles said.

To celebrate her contributions to the community during the coronavirus pandemic, grand marshal is Siskiyou County Public Health branch director Shelly Davis.

Where's the parade route? Where's the best view?

The parade will start at the north end of Miner Street, off Oregon Street. It will proceed down to Broadway and turn south.

One of the best spots to watch is near the corner of Broadway and Miner streets, Stiles said. That's where the announcers and judges will be.

Float at the Holiday Parade in 2019.

For those people in wheelchairs, flat spots to watch the parade include Liberty Arts Plaza.

Spectators are welcome to bring lawn chairs, water and snacks. 

Be sure to bundle up. It will be chilly.

What's the daytime schedule?

  • Kids can join the teddy bear hunt at 11 a.m. starting from the Tri Counties Bank parking lot. Each child participating can keep one of 700 bears they find hidden around downtown Yreka.
  • Take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Merchants Bank of Commerce parking lot.
  • Hay rides starting from the Primo Barber parking lot at 401 S. Main St. take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  • A tree decorating contest and silent auction take place 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Merchants Bank of Commerce parking lot.
  • Chili and cornbread cookoff from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Tri Counties Bank parking lot.

What's the evening schedule?

  • The drum-off battle is at 2 p.m. at Liberty Arts Plaza.
  • The Christmas Parade starts at 4 p.m. 
  • Victorian carolers stroll around downtown from 6-7 p.m.
  • The Night of Lights tree lighting, caroling and the luminary memorial and celebration begins at 5:30 p.m. at the fire station at 401 W. Miner St.
  • Enjoy live music from 7-9 p.m. at the Elks Club at 332 W. Miner St. and other venues.

Ongoing activities include live dancers, carolers and live music.

Note that there is no arts and crafts fair this year.

The Prince and Princess Pageant will be a virtual event. Check the chamber's Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3n3u4fW or go to the Tri Counties Bank parking lot. 

Where should I park?

People who have trouble walking far or other physical impediments can park in the Banner Bank parking lot at 123 N. Main St. in Yreka, Stiles said. From there, it's a short walk around the corner to the festivities on Miner Street.

Regular parking is available on streets and parking lots throughout town.

Remember Miner Street will be blocked off to vehicles from Oregon Street to Broadway.

Is this an alcohol-free, pet-free event?

There are no restrictions on alcohol beyond laws in place, but "we ask patrons to drink responsibly," Stiles said.

The Rex Club at 111 S. Main St. and Strings Italian Café at 322 W. Miner St. will serve alcohol during the event. 

Well-behaved leashed pets are always welcome, Stiles said. 

Can I still enter the parade?

The deadline to enter the parade is Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Cost to enter the parade is $25, and sponsorships are available.

Call (530) 842-1649 or email crystal@northsiskiyouchamber.com.

For event updates, go to https://bit.ly/3n3u4fW.

Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today. Thank you.