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Central Oregon Coast's Florence Holiday Festival Expands, with Gnomes, Lighted Parade

Published 11/24/22 at 5:29 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Central Oregon Coast's Florence Holiday Festival Expands, with Gnomes, Lighted Parade

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(Florence, Oregon) – A long-standing tradition on the central Oregon Coast is expanding this year. The Florence Holiday Festival is getting some new additions, thanks to the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, and some of it is truly aglow. (Above: near Florence, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

December 3 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. is the date and time for the Florence Holiday Festival, taking place on Bay Street in Historic Old Town Florence.

Joining the big central Oregon coast shindig are new events such as the lighted car parade. It's being organized by some of the Rods N Rhodies group, which puts on their large-scale happening every year. This new, ethereal feature will coincide with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting by the mayor.

Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bettina Hannigan said all manner of entries are not only allowed but encouraged: cars, trucks, watercraft, golf carts, large commercial vehicles to even watercraft. The only stipulation is that it must have lights on all sides. To apply, pick up the paperwork at the Florence Visitors Center, and the fee is merely three non-perishable food items for Florence Food Share.

Festival organizer Mitzi Hathaway said all this will be loads of fun.

Then there's this whole gnome thing that's come to this part of the Oregon coast.

“Come take a photo in front of our fanciful gnome background and receive your free lit balloon and help us illuminate Bay St. and light Santa’s way into Historic Old Town Florence,” Hathaway said.

Santa arrives at 4:30 p.m. in true cheery style as part of the Holiday Lighted Car Cruise Parade. There, he and his elf helpers will be handing out candy canes to all the kiddies.

“Then gather around the Siuslaw Interpretive Center town tree at 5:30 as Mayor Joe Henry flips the switch to illuminate the magic of the season,” she said. (Visit for more information)

Musical entertainment, an LED balloon giveaway, hayrides, and a Gnome Treasure Hunt will add to the fun. Gnome treasure maps are available at, at the visitors center 290 Highway 101, or from participating merchants. DJ Al Rojas will provide seasonal music throughout the event.

Hannigan said that the “Gnome Treasure Hunt” actually starts on Black Friday and runs through Christmas Eve.

“Find a gnome and grab a gem of a deal,” Hannigan said. “Pick up a map from the Visitor Center or print one from the Chamber website beginning November 25 to locate participating merchants who are hosting gnomes with treasure to share.”

Florence's Old Town

A contribution of two or more cans of nonperishable food for Florence Food Share is requested to enter the Gnome Treasure Hunt.

“We are partnering with Food Share as we accept non-perishable food to help local families through the season. Barrels for your contribution will be located at the Chamber’s tent in front of the gazebo in Old Town Park,” Hannigan said.

Hathaway and Hannigan encourage the public to help support local businesses by choosing to “shop small, shop local” this holiday season by remembering Shop Small Saturday on November 26, and to remember to purchase a FLOCAL e-gift card to keep the cash flowing locally in Florence.

To sign up for and enter the lighted car parade, or for more information on any of the Florence Holiday Festival activities, contact Mitzi Hathaway at

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