The annual Sparks Hometowne Christmas celebration in downtown Sparks will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday when Mayor Geno Martini turns on the Christmas tree lights.
The tree-lighting ceremony, which includes entertainment from a local bluegrass group and treats for children, will take place next to the large gazebo on the corner of Victorian Avenue and Victorian Plaza Circle.
The Christmas parade starts at 1 p.m. Saturday. This year’s theme is “All Aboard the Hometowne Express!” Parade goers can expect whistle stops, box cars, train engineers, and Santa bringing up the caboose. The parade route travels from east to west on Victorian Avenue from Pyramid Way to 16th Street.
Entertainment, photos with Santa and arts and crafts will also be part of the celebration.
With help from the Nugget Casino Resort and Swire Coca Cola, a toy drive for children in need will be part of the Christmas Parade. Unwrapped gifts can be given directly to the Coca Cola Polar Bear and Marines during the parade.
Toys can also be dropped off at the Nugget, Sparks City Hall on Prater Way, the Alf Sorenson Community Center on Baring Boulevard and Scheels at Legends
Photos with the jolly old guy, compliments of the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, can be taken from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3-4 p.m. on Saturday. Cash and canned food will be accepted for Eveyln Mount’s Food Pantry.
Scheels is kicking off Saturday’s parade day with an “Ugly Sweater Run,” 2 miles around the Sparks Marina for fun. The “Ugly Sweater Run” will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. Registration is available at Scheels Customer Service Desk. The fee is $20 or a new toy donation. All of proceeds benefit Toys for Tots.