SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Rain in the forecast this weekend has the potential to impact many of the holiday events that are scheduled this coming Saturday and Sunday.
Over the past several days, the projections for precipitation have been evolving, creating a lot of hand wringing for event organizers.
"We are definitely keeping an eye on the weather," said Kathleen Hernandez, Old Town Nipomo Family Christmas co-organizer. "Lots of prayer going into this that the weather just blows right on by and that we don't have any issues with it."
In Santa Maria, the Santa Maria Parade of Lights is set to return this Saturday for the first time since 2019 after two straight cancellations due to Covid-19.
"We didn't get to have it the last two years and people are really excited about coming out and having it again, and we are very excited about having it again," said Parade of Lights co-chair Mike Gibson. "We love having it. It's just one of those things that we're just hoping against hope that the rain stays away during that window around the parade."
However, should heavy rain be in the forecast, organizers will be forced to pull the plug and cancel the event for a third straight year.
"We're going to make a decision on rain and whether or not it's going to cancel the event on Saturday. Saturday morning, we'll be checking the up-to-the-second forecast to see what it's going to be like during the parade hours," said Gibson. If we have to call it, we will post it on our website."
Gibson said a final decision would be made available to the public on the parade website by noon on Saturday.
The much-loved parade is presented by the Santa Maria Rotary Club. It is scheduled to begin at 5:20 p.m. and will travel along Broadway between Stowell and Main Streets.
News Channel 12 will broadcast the parade live beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Another parade scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3 is the 55th Annual South County Holiday Parade in Grover Beach.
"We've been checking the weather about every hour for the last few days and especially about every half hour today," said Grover Beach Parks and Recreation Program Director Kathy Petker.
The parade is set to begin at 10 a.m., with its route traveling along Grand Ave. The parade will begin at the corner of 16th Street and Grand Ave. and then proceed west to 9th Street, turn north on 9th Street and disband on Ramona Ave. at the Ramona Garden Park where a Santa’s Workshop will be take place from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The daylong festivities will conclude with the Holiday Tree Lighting.
The Grover Beach Recreation and Parks Department will decide a day early whether or not to cancel the event or proceed depending on the severity of rain in the forecast.
"We are keeping a close eye on the weather," said Petker. "If we do need to cancel, we will put out a notice at noon on Friday tomorrow and let people know."
On Friday, Lompoc is set to hold its Lompoc Valley Children’s Christmas Season Parade.
The city said on Thursday the parade is currently expected to take place as scheduled. However, if a postponement becomes necessary due to rain, a public notification would be announced on Friday by 2 p.m.
In South Santa Barbara County, the Goleta Old Town Holiday Parade is also scheduled for this Saturday.
According to the parade website, preparations continue to moving forward. A final decision will be made for possible cancellation by Saturday mid-afternoon when real-time weather is known.
For Sunday events, like the Old Towne Nipomo Christmas, the weather forecast currently appears to be a little more favorable.
"We really don't want to cancel unless absolutely necessary and as far as we know right now, Sunday is looking better than most of the weekend," said Hernandez. "People have invested a lot of time, a lot of money, and unless it presented a danger to someone, then we would cancel."
Hernandez indicated a final decision on whether or not to cancel or proceed as planned would be made as late as possible on Sunday.
For other local events, they have announced they will be held as scheduled rain or shine. Some of those include the San Luis Obispo Holiday parade and the Solvang Julefest Tree Lighting Ceremony, both of which will take place on Friday.
Organizers with the Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade announced Thursday the popular event has been postponed a week.
The free event at the city's Embarcadero is now shifted from this Saturday, Dec. 3 to next week on Saturday, Dec. 10.
For more on this story, watch News Channel today at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.