Pastega Christmas Light Display returns to brighten Corvallis festive spirit

Riley LeCocq, News Contributor

After 2020’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pastega Christmas Light Display returns to its 250-piece display, bringing the holiday season to the Corvallis community.

For nearly 30 years, the Pastega family has put on a light display for the Benton County community. The Pasetga family first set up the display after seeing a need for a community holiday show such as this in Corvallis. The original display was housed out of the Pepsi-Cola facilities in town, but in 2019, shifted to the Benton County Fairgrounds, where the display has since grown to welcome roughly 33,000 guests. 

Admission to the event is free, and canned food donations are given to Linn-Benton Food Share as part of the display’s food drive. 

The display, which takes 120 hours to set up with the help of community organizations and Oregon State University student volunteers, welcomes guests to the display now through Dec. 31 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day at the Benton County Events Center.

Visitors can expect to be dazzled by the variety of familiar superhero and cartoon characters all decked out in their festive best. 

“A lot of people adopted characters and repainted them because they needed to be refurbished,” said Ken Pastega, who is the current head of the family project since his father began the tradition in 1981. 

Pastega noted that the display would not be possible without the help of the community and in particular, partnerships with OSU fraternities and sororities, especially as the generations that usually work to make the event happen year after year are getting older, such as Pastega himself, who is 75 years old.  

“In the future, what we’d like to get is even more participation from the fraternities and sororities at Oregon State; they were very helpful,” Pastega said. “It’s really great to have all that energy and physical ability to load all those characters up.”

With all the community efforts put into the set-up, tear down and reconstruction of the display, Pastega said the event so far has been a delight. 

“It’s been a real community Christmas thing, starting with Pepsi in 1981, and it’s just morphed into a bigger and better Christmas display,” Pastega said.