Hundreds of vehicles decked out with Christmas decorations will cruise around Mission for three nights starting Friday, Dec. 10.
“As crazy as a year as we’ve had, we need this,” organizer Clark Jahn said. “The kids, everyone needs this so bad.”
Jahn and a group of fellow 4x4ers started the “Light up the Night Christmas Parade” last year, and drove around Mission for six nights.
The first night they only had five vehicles, by the second night their fleet had doubled, and 16 vehicles joined on third, 28 on the fourth, 77 for the fifth and a total of 177 vehicles – including 45 tow trucks and TV crews from Highway Through Hell – joined on the sixth.
This year the fleet will be out for three nights, from Friday to Sunday. Everyone will meet at The Junction Shopping Centre at 6 p.m., and the parade will start at 7 p.m.
Jahn is trying to limit the parade to 100 vehicles a night due to safety concerns and regulations. Participants are asked to register online, and only register for one night to allow others the chance to spread the holiday spirit.
He said that each night already has 10 to 20 vehicles signed up. “It’ll gather even more steam as the week goes on.”
“There’s a lot of people that want to enter this,” Jahn said.
When the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Candlelight Parade, Jahn said his name came up in meetings as a possible alternative, and now he’s working with the city.
He’s just applied for his street-use permit, and the city is working to get up signage notifying people along the parade route.
People should have a copy of the route printed out, as the fleet will have to stop at traffic lights as there’s a chance some may get separated.
“We have to follow the lights … because some of the streets we are going by are emergency routes and stuff, so I don’t want those streets blocked,” he said. “If you get stuck behind a light, we are only doing eight kilometers an hour, so you’ll be able to find us.”
There are some changes from last year, but one thing that hasn’t changed are the giant Christmas-light antlers and bright red nose on Jahn’s vehicle named “Rudolph.”
“He’ll be leading the pack again,” Jahn said. “He got his antlers and everything on yesterday.”
He described the holiday season as his favorite time of year, and said he decided to start dressing up Rudolph some 20 years ago after watching December news on TV.
“I just remember it was just so depressing – all the problems and people breaking in and stealing presents,” Jahn said. “Long ago I thought, you know what, no, I gotta’ make people smile.”
He’s encouraging participants to donate to the food bank this Christmas.
To learn more visit Jahn’s Facebook page.