COVID-related restrictions on large gatherings this season put the kibosh on Auburn’s traditional Santa Parade.
But to that, nearly a dozen community members and businesses said “humbug,” then stepped into the breach bearing lighted displays for a special, one-night-only, drive-thru happening they called Jolly Holiday Lane.
The event took place Dec. 5 at Les Gove Park and offered giant lighted inflatables, season’s greetings messages, small-scale winter scenes, a variety of holiday characters, a sprinkling of snow, and of course, Santa. More than 600 vehicles drove through the event, accommodating roughly 3,000 spectators.
City officials estimate that more than 400 children dropped letters off at the Santa Mail Box, and said letters were overnighted to the North Pole.
The event was free to attend, but organizers encouraged spectators to bring a canned food donation or donate to the Valley Regional Fire Authority online fundraiser for its Toy Drive, which they did, amassing hundreds pounds of food and putting hundreds of dollars into the Auburn Food Bank’s tin on the night of the event.
Video footage of the drive-thru event can be found at https://youtu.be/4Yf0z71M0L4.