Christmas Lighting Tour returns

A dental office on Howard Street is streaked with headlights and tail lights from passing traffic on Friday night. The lights, Santa and Nativity scenes will be on the route for this year’s revived Christmas Lighting Tour.

A dental office on Howard Street is streaked with headlights and tail lights from passing traffic on Friday night. The lights, Santa and Nativity scenes will be on the route for this year’s revived Christmas Lighting Tour. Photo by Jeff Horner.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas scene unfolds in the front yard of a home on Imperial Drive as part of the tour route for this year’s Christmas Lighting Tour through Walla Walla and the surrounding area.

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It’s that house transformation time of the year when basketball hoops are adorned with stars and ordinary homes — such as this one on Imperial Drive — become sign posts to the North Pole and part of the Christmas Lighting Tour route.

WALLA WALLA — A Christmas tradition of years past is rolling back into town this week with the return of the Christmas Lighting Tour.

Event organizer Liz Pierce of the Home Loan Center said it has been a few years since she and the business have chartered buses to take people, mostly seniors, on 90-minute Christmas light tours.

“We really want entire families to come. But the majority of people have always been senior citizens, and the reason for that is they don’t feel comfortable driving at night ... and that is probably the main reason I do it because I just absolutely love older people,” Pierce said.

For roughly 25 years, Pierce said they have putting together driving lists of the best lit homes in the Valley. And for about 18 of those years they also included a chartered bus tour.

The driving list will be available starting Dec. 17 for a donation of $5, with proceeds going to the Walla Walla Children’s Museum.

The bus tours will take place on Dec. 13 and 14, with departures at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

As in years past, a team of Santa’s elves will serve cookies and hot chocolate and cider before the tours. Several costumed characters will also ride along on the tour to share Christmas stories.

“It is not just that you go on the bus and look at the lights. We have Christmas stories that we have memorized over the years. We have Christmas carols. We like to interact with the group. And by the time we are done everyone feels like they are family,” Pierce said.

Tickets for the tour are available at the Home Loan Center, 1 E. Main Street, and are $10 for adults, $6 for children 8 and under and 2 and under free.

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