Dec. 9—The Olivehurst Christmas Parade that was set to take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Olivehurst will be canceled this year due to projected high winds in the area.
The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory yesterday afternoon that will be in effect from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Heavy rains and winds between 20 and 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, are expected. Risks to the local area were listed as moderate with the potential for downed trees and possible power outages. Unsecured items could be impacted or blown away, including temporary structures and holiday decorations, and driving conditions could be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.
"If it were just the rain, we could do it, but the wind makes it more difficult, so we are regrettably calling it off this year," said Dennise Burbank, the co-founder and president of the nonprofit organization SoYouCan, which runs the event.
The Olivehurst Christmas Parade is an annual community event that has been going on for the past 53 years. In 2010, it was handed off to Burbank, who has been successfully carrying on the tradition with SoYouCan. The parade is well known for its quirky and often "out of the ordinary" themes.
This year's theme centered around the Tim Burton film "The Nightmare Before Christmas," with expected appearances from both Jack Skeleton and Sally along with 30 scheduled entries. Burbank said that the group plans to host this same theme next year, weather permitting.
While the parade is no longer happening this Saturday, SoYouCan is still excited to host its annual Christmas Giveaway event next week at the Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City. The Christmas Giveaway has been celebrated for the past decade as an initiative designed to bring the magic of Christmas to those in need. A number of pre-selected families get referred to the organization each year through educators, pastors, first responders, and other community based sectors.
"A lot of it is by word of mouth," explained Angie Gates, the other co-founder and treasurer of SoYouCan. "There's no application, we don't question anybody, we just give them Christmas."
Approximately 415 families will be served this year along with 1,262 children. Each child gets two gifts, a stuffed stocking, a blanket, hats, mittens, household decorations, and a Christmas dinner with enough food for the week after.
This type of endeavor takes quite a bit of volunteer work and planning. That's why approximately 300 volunteers will be gathering in the main hall of the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds as early as Wednesday morning to start sorting donations and prepping packages. This work will continue throughout the week and come Dec. 17, teams of first responders will be coming in to start picking up packages and making deliveries.
"It'll look like a drug bust going down," laughed Burbank. "I think we have some from Sutter County and Yuba City also, but I know we have Olivehurst Fire Department, Linda Fire Department, Yuba County Sheriff's Department, and Marysville Police Department."
Donations for this massive giveaway are sourced year round and come through a network of clubs, businesses, nonprofits, first responders, and more. This year organizers estimate that around 1,200 boxes of cereal were collected by the Yuba City Police Department alone, and many more items continue to flow in from other sectors of the community.
"I don't know if a lot of people realize how lucky they are to live in the community of Yuba-Sutter," said Burbank. "It's such a generous community and every year I see more and more. It's really heartwarming."
Each family served receives a Christmas card with a link to the SoYouCan website. If families choose, they can use this link to share pictures of their holiday on the page to celebrate.
"It's pretty cool to see that start happening on Christmas morning," said Gates.
Those looking to support this charitable initiative can start tonight at 4 p.m. with a "A Walk Through Candy Cane Lane," located at 868 Richland Rd. in Yuba City.
Candy Cane Lane is a toy and food drive hosted by Showcase Real Estate in an effort to support SoYouCan in its mission of helping those in need through the holidays. This will be the third Candy Cane Lane event and guests can expect around 30 decorated booths and tables with a mix of food and craft vendors, raffles, and activities. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will also be available for a complimentary professional photo at Santa's Workshop. Donations of cash, new toys, and non-perishable food items can be dropped off at the information booth, which offers tour guides of the festivities.
For more information about SoYouCan, contact organizers by calling 530-415-0145, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in following along with SoYouCan's Christmas adventures can search for "SoYouCanYuba" on Facebook.