On Saturday, Dec. 5, locals and visitors celebrated Haystack Holidays with wreath-making, Holiday Tea, a visit from Santa and the longtime tradition of lighting the lamp in Sandpiper Square.

The tradition traces back to 1973, when a “gas crunch” inspired business owners to devise new ways to attract visitors to town, resident Peter Dueber Jr. said.

Jay Schwehr served as Cannon Beach’s lamp lighter until poor health prevented him from doing so in 2010. He used to light the lamps everyday during the holiday season along Hemlock Street before Coaster Properties retired all but the one in Sandpiper Square.

Schwehr died on Nov. 23, 2013.

“We still come together,” Dueber said, to celebrate the joy and peace of the holidays.

Since Schwehr’s death, others have taken on the task. Two Seaside Heights Elementary fifth-graders from Cannon Beach did the honors this year.

To get attendees in the festive mood, local artist Bill Steidel first sang “Christmas in Our Hometown,” an original he wrote for the Dueber family when Paul Dueber Sr. died on Christmas Day in 1967.

After the lighting, Santa Claus surprised children, arriving in a Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue truck and handing out presents.

“It was just a really great day,” said Jill Dobinski, of Portland. She has family in Cannon Beach and attended events with her daughter, Emma, 4. “She loves shopping and cookies and Santa Claus. It (Haystack Holidays) had all of that.”

She added that Cannon Beach’s holiday tradition is “really neat” for a small town.

In addition to the lamp lighting ceremony, Cannon Beach held a variety of events over the weekend and will continue to do so the rest of the month.

Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Jim Paino taught participants how to make wreaths from items like pine cones and branches at the Community Center.

It’s where Deb Steele, who makes jewelry for DragonFire Gallery, made her first wreath. She noted she had a good teacher and enjoyed the event.

Her family attends Haystack Holidays annually for the festivities.

“We’re taking it all in,” she said Saturday.

During the afternoon, the Cannon Beach Library offered Holiday Tea. The library was filled with holiday decorations and a table lined with treats, tea and cider was available.

Judy Wood, co-president of the Cannon Beach Library Board, said their crowd had been steady throughout the day.

On Dec. 4, the annual Cannon Beach Chorus Christmas Concert was held at the Cannon Beach Community Church.

Santa Claus returned for pictures on Dec. 12 in the Chamber of Commerce’s Community Hall.

And homes and businesses alike participated in the Cannon Beach in Lights Contest.

The Coaster Theatre’s holiday show, “Once Upon a Mattress,” will play through Sunday, Dec. 20. Weekend evening shows start at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m. Visit www.coastertheatre.com for more information.

The last Haystack Holiday event of the season, the Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Concert with The Trail Band, will be held on Dec. 30 at the Coaster Theatre.

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