‘Miracle’ lights up Gubser

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Residents got an early start to the annual Gubser Miracle of Christmas Lights Display, a fundraiser for the Marion-Polk Food Share. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Residents got an early start to the annual Gubser Miracle of Christmas Lights Display, a fundraiser for the Marion-Polk Food Share. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

The Keizer Miracle of Christmas Lights Display will have a slightly modified route and feature some new enticements for visitors this holiday season.

The display begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and cars will be roaming the neighborhood from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Dec. 26. The route is about 3.5 miles long, and can take several hours to complete on busy weekends. Snow-Cop barricades will lead drivers through the neighborhood.

The route will have a slight modification this year with Stone Hedge Drive being removed from the path. Taking its place will be Manzanita and Marigold Drives N.E., Manzanita meets up with Marigold before taking a corner.

The tradition, which raises money and food for the Marion-Polk Food Share, draws eyes from around the region.  It’s expected that nearly 20,000 vehicles will pass through the neighborhood.

There’s no admission fee, but the event is a fundraiser for hungry families in the mid-Willamette Valley, and donations are always welcome.

“Our goal this year is 25,000 pounds of food and $20,000 in monetary donation,” said Brigette Eisele, one of the coordinators this season.

Cans and non-perishable food donations along with cash are welcomed. A donation site will be set up on Mistwood Drive Northeast.

In addition to route changes, local businesses are sponsoring some nights of the event. Some will offer coupons for those donating specific amounts of food, while others are matching donations up to a certain limit.

“One of the residents in the neighborhood also drew up a large poster of Spike the Gubser Gator. He will move to a new house about once a week,” Eisele said. The intent is to supply younger visitors with a Where’s Waldo-ish game and provide incentive to drive through more than once.

Carolers are another new addition to the fun. They will occupy a tent stationed in front of Gubser Elementary School and sing for visitors as they pass. Eisele said many school and church choirs have been offered the opportunity, but it will also be open to pick-up groups. Those interested in participating can contact Eisele at Keizerxmas@gmail.com.

Organizers remind attendees that there are no public restrooms available, and visitors should keep their headlights on at all times while driving through. It is a residential neighborhood, so please be aware and courteous to pedestrians and residents trying to get in and out of driveways.

Visitors wishing to take photos in front of the displays are encouraged to stay on sidewalks and out of yards.

The display is also walkable, with sidewalks throughout the Gubser neighborhood. If you choose to walk it, please park at either Whiteaker Middle School, 1605 Lockhaven Drive NE, or at Gubser Elementary School, 6610 14th Avenue NE.

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