Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce
Attendees of the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai parade gather around the bonfire outside the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce Attendees of the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai parade gather around the bonfire outside the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

Christmas back in a big way

Kenai’s annual holiday festivities draw crowds

Christmas came to Kenai in a big way last weekend with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce hosting its biggest Christmas parade yet, as well as an expanded fireworks display to cap Friday night’s festivities.

Brittany Brown, executive director of the Kenai Chamber Commerce, said Tuesday said 12 floats participated in this year’s parade — the most parade participants in the event’s history. This parade traditionally draws fewer participants than Kenai’s Fourth of July parade, Brown said, but this year it was one of the only community events not canceled due to the pandemic, so people jumped at the opportunity.

“I think it turned out amazing,” Brown said. “Despite the circumstances with our economy and with the pandemic, I couldn’t have asked for a better event to take place. There were so many folks I got emails and calls from, and even in conversations during the event, people felt like it was the first time in a really long time that life was just a tad bit normal.”

The event took place entirely outside this year in order to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. Even though no hot chocolate could be given out, Odie’s donated individually wrapped cookies that were distributed by masked and gloved chamber employees. Brown said the weather was warm for the middle of winter, and it snowed just enough to give the kids a hill for sliding.

Three of the floats were chosen as parade winners by the chamber’s board of directors based on creativity and correlation to their business. This year’s winners were Denali Family Dentistry, Kenai Peninsula Driving Instruction and Stichel Racing.

After the parade had made its way down Frontage Road, a fireworks show was put on by the City of Kenai and local transportation company Weaver Brothers, Inc.

Brown said that the City of Kenai allocated a little bit extra for its fireworks budget this year in order to give the community something to celebrate, and the expanded light show could be seen from almost everywhere in the city.

“I want to give a huge shoutout to all of our sponsors and the folks who came out,” Brown said. “It’s a huge thing for the community, and it’s amazing that people decided to put in the money to provide this opportunity for everybody.”

Fireworks are set off during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Fireworks are set off during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Fireworks can be seen across the Kenai River during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Fireworks can be seen across the Kenai River during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Fireworks are set off during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Fireworks are set off during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Photos courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce
The 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade travels down Frontage Road in Kenai on Friday.

Photos courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce The 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade travels down Frontage Road in Kenai on Friday.

Floats participate in the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Floats participate in the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Fireworks can be seen across the Kenai River during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Fireworks can be seen across the Kenai River during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Santa Claus waves to the crowd atop a City of Kenai fire truck during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

Santa Claus waves to the crowd atop a City of Kenai fire truck during the 2020 Christmas Comes to Kenai Parade on Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy Brittany Brown/Kenai Chamber of Commerce)

More in News

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

A map shows which parts of the Chugach National Forest are open to motorized winter recreation use for the 2021-2022 season. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Parts of Chugach National Forest open to snowmachine use

The 2021-2022 winter motorized season will run through April 30.

Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross explains the purpose of a grant to be used for new radios during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Police to update radios using grant money

The department received almost $260,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic Party candidate for governor Les Gara attends a Zoom meeting with Homer residents on Nov. 18, 2021, from his Anchorage, Alaska, home. (Screen capture)
Gara makes election pitch to Homer

Democratic Party candidate for governor Gara visits virtually.

A man missing for more than 40 years was identified by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation as a Chugiak resident who was last seen in 1979. The man’s body was discovered on an island near Anchorage in 1989. (Courtesy photo/Alaska Department of Public Safety)
Body found in 1980s ID’d through DNA analysis

The body, found in 1989, had been unidentified until now.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID continues decline; 1 new death

The state had an estimated rolling average of 253.3 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dillingham will travel to Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska’s western coast, for the first count on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Census reports minimal state population growth

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s population grew by about 3,400 people between the 2010 and 2020 census.

The old Homer intermediate school building, showing the Homer Boys & Girls Club and gym on the south side of the building at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue.
The old Homer intermediate school building on the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue, as seen in October 2010. It’s now known as the Homer Educational and Recreational Complex, or HERC. (Homer News file photo)
Homer awards contract to study use of rec complex site

The goal is to help the city understand the maximum use of that property.

Genna Stormer gives Santa a hug during Christmas Comes to Nikiski at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center on Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
December brings the holiday cheer

Groups across the peninsula get into the spirit of the season with public events.

Most Read