A decorated truck owned by Kenai Peninsula Driving Instruction participates in the “Christmas Comes to Kenai” parade on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A decorated truck owned by Kenai Peninsula Driving Instruction participates in the “Christmas Comes to Kenai” parade on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Christmas comes to the Kenai Peninsula

Kickoff events will be hosted in Kenai, Soldotna and Nikiski in the next two weeks offering free festive fun

With Thanksgiving about to come and go, the Kenai Peninsula is ready to turn the page to the holly jolly Christmas season. Kickoff events will be hosted in Kenai, Soldotna and Nikiski in the next two weeks offering free festive fun.

Christmas Comes to Kenai

Hosted by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, Christmas Comes to Kenai is in its usual spot — the day after Thanksgiving — bringing with it appearances from Santa, the Electric Lights Parade and grand finale fireworks.

The fun starts at 11 a.m. on Friday, when Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, delivered by a City of Kenai fire truck. There will be opportunities for photos with Santa, hot cocoa, cookies, candy canes and goody bags.

The annual Electric Lights Parade will follow its usual route, with floats organizing near the Kenai Senior Center then proceeding down Frontage Road at 6 p.m. The parade will pass Olga’s Goldsmiths, Dan’s TV, Kenai Alternative High School, Paradisos Restaurant and conclude in the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center parking lot, where a bonfire with further cookies and hot cocoa will be waiting.

At 7 p.m. the fireworks finale will start, as the colorful pyrotechnics will be launched over the baseball fields. They will be visible over much of the city, but especially from downtown areas like the parking lot in front of the Kenai Mall, or along the path previously marched by the parade.

Christmas comes to Nikiski

Next week, on Saturday, Dec. 3, North Peninsula Recreation Service Area will host Christmas Comes to Nikiski at Nikiski Community Recreation Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be a craft fair with local vendors, a bonfire, hot cocoa, and visits from Santa between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Christmas in the Park

Also on Saturday, Soldotna will host its own welcoming of the Christmas season — put on by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. Another annual celebration, the event will run from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Soldotna Creek Park.

There will be a variety of performances on stage, beginning with a live Bethlehem Nativity Scene at 4:30 p.m. by College Heights Baptist Church, followed by Christmas caroling by Kenai Performers’ Victorian Carolers.

Santa will arrive — again on a firetruck — and will be available alongside reindeer for pictures. A tree lighting will take place at 5 p.m. and holiday fireworks will be launched over the park starting at 6:30 p.m. These, too, will be visible far and wide around Soldotna, but a great view could be found at any parking lot along the Sterling Highway facing the park — especially from the old Moose is Loose location to the intersection with the Kenai Spur Highway.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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