Portland's Peacock Lane is possibly Oregon's best-known neighborhood for Christmas light displays, but Oregonians in the central Willamette Valley have their own version: Keizer's Miracle of Christmas. Unlike Portland's block-long, intensive experience, this is a more casual, spread-out affair; many homes throughout the Gubser neighborhood are lavishly decorated, while some residents choose not to participate. Quite a few visitors opt to drive through the display due to its more dispersed nature, but traffic can be heavy and walking offers more opportunities to linger and take pictures. We opt to find a likely spot to park and then walk through that part of the neighborhood, then return to our car and move on. However you choose to view it, though, this unsung display is well worth a trip to Keizer, just north of the capitol city of Salem.
Begun back in the 1980s as a friendly rivalry between neighbors, this laid-back display now involves the whole neighborhood in spreading Christmas cheer while collecting donations for Marion-Polk Food Share; of course, donations are voluntary, but over 160,000 meals were collected in 2021.
To kick off the festivities, a parade takes place each year on the second Saturday in December from 7 to 9:00 PM. River Road is closed to traffic during the parade, which runs between Lockhaven and Glynbrook; those familiar with Keizer will know that this is a major traffic route, so be prepared for detours if your arrival is timed for after 6:00 on parade day! This is a serious parade, with lighted vehicles, floats, and holiday music.
The light display itself runs from early December through the 26th from 6-10:00 PM nightly (this year, 2022, it begins on December 6). If you are so inclined, bring non-perishable food to drop off at the Food Share booth, where you will be greeted by friendly volunteers.
To find the neighborhood, take Exit 260a from I-5 and head west on Chemawa Road, which turns into Lockhaven. Turn right on 14th Avenue and follow the directional "snow cop" signs through the neighborhood. It's that easy. Bring your camera, hang out a while, and enjoy the display!
|Following the friendly "snow cop" through the display