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Christmas events return to Lathrop starting tonight
Lathrop Christmas Parade
Staff and children of the Learning Tree Preschool perform the Christmas Jingle in Moe's honor down the parade route during Lathrop's Christmas Parade in 2013. - photo by HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has stifled in-person public events like the annual Lathrop Christmas Tree Lighting and the annual parade over the last two years, both return in 2021 as a way to bring the community together — safely — for the holidays.

Tonight at 6:30, the city’s official Christmas Tree at Valverde Park will be lit with people in attendance, a starkly different experience than the “virtual” that the community got to enjoy last year as a way to protect the public from spiking COVID-19 infections across the county.

While the pandemic provided challenges for people like Parks and Recreation Director Zach Jones — who had to come up with ways to keep the public engaged through means that had never before been used to promote civic recreation — the return of in-person events is a welcome gift as residents prepare to enter the holiday season.

“With the past few years of challenging times, the City of Lathrop is excited to finally be gathering for our annual Christmas Tree lighting,” said Jones. “To celebrate being back, we have made some new and exciting changes, including several performances and we hope to see everyone at the event!”

The tree-lighting will include choral performances, cookies and hot chocolate, and will feature a special guest appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus. The event, which is free to the public, will take place outdoors and those requiring seating are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

But the lighting of the Christmas Tree won’t be the only in-person event making a triumphant return for the holiday season.

On Saturday, Dec. 11, starting at 11 a.m., the City of Lathrop’s annual Christmas Parade will be returning to the community once again.

Titled “A Gingerbread Christmas,” the parade will include floats, balloons, marching bands, equestrian, and dance, and the event will start from the corner of 5th and J Streets and wind its way through Historic Lathrop the way it had in past years.

While last year the city held a “shoebox parade” via Zoom to unite the public, the traditional parade floats and entries will return this year. Commercial parade entries this year will be $100, while non-profit groups will be $25.

For additional information about upcoming holiday events, visit the Parks and Recreation Department website at or call 209.941.7370.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.