In the community

Santa, princesses and a winter wonderland of fun slated for Ontario this weekend

ONTARIO – Two of Malheur County’s signature holiday events are on the calendar for this week.
Santa’s Breakfast, hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, starts at 6:45 a.m., Friday, Dec. 2, at the Ontario Elks Lodge, at 20 S.W. 3rd St. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. In addition to an appearance by Santa, the breakfast will include a gift exchange and door prizes. 
The Winter Wonderland Parade starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. 
The parade is also hosted by the Chamber and sponsored by the Malheur Enterprise. It kicks off from Fourth Avenue and will proceed east to Oregon Avenue, then to First Avenue and loop to the Ontario Train Depot. 

John Breidenbach, the chamber CEO, said Santa would visit at the end of the parade. 
Ella Draper, a senior at Nyssa High School who lives in Vale, will be this year’s parade queen. Draper was crowned at the Chamber’s coronation ceremony Monday, Nov. 21, at Four Rivers Cultural Center. 
Along with Draper, sophomores Abby Grimes and Julia Haney were crowned as the parade’s princesses. Haney is home-schooled, while Grimes attends Fruitland High School. 
The chamber voted on Draper, Grimes and Haney based on their essays. 
Local business owner Bob Quinn will be the parade grand marshal. Quinn is the current chair of the Ontario Visitors.
Quinn also served as the chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and is a past member of the Ontario Budget Committee. 
Quinn, the former owner of the Clarion Inn and whose company T.Q. Properties built the Holiday Inn Express.
Quinn also served as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce president and is a past member of the Ontario Budget Committee. 
A Nyssa native, Quinn said he remembers coming to Ontario to be in the parade while playing tenor saxophone in the Nyssa High School marching band. 
“The Winter Wonderland Parade is just an integral part of the tradition (in Malheur County),” Quinn said.   
Aurora Carona, a sixth grader at Ontario Middle School, will be the parade’s junior grand marshal. 
Carona submitted this year’s parade theme, “Santa’s Help,” in an essay chosen by the chamber. 
Breidenbach said the parade would include three marching bands, a host of classic cars, members of the Oregon National Guard, area first responders and nearly a dozen business entries. 
He said family entries, horse entries and rodeo courts have also signed up to be in the parade.
“Given what a rough year it’s been for so many people, the Enterprise is more than happy to sponsor the parade and bring a little joy to the community,” said Les Zaitz, Enterprise publisher. “Plus, we want to get on Santa’s good side.”
Breidenbach said those interested in being in the parade can contact the Ontario Chamber of Commerce at 541-889-8012.
He said it is an excellent way for businesses to advertise. 
Breidenbach pointed out that it’s “free marketing” for businesses as there is no charge for entry. 
“If you own a business,” Briedenbach said, “you can get your name out there in front of a couple of thousand people. “Even in bad weather, I’m always amazed at how big of a crowd we get.”

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