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The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

Pastega Christmas Light Display seeks new leadership

Hayden Lohr
The Pastega Christmas Light Display at 110 SW 53rd St. in Corvallis on Nov. 28, 2023. The event will run through Dec. 31.

For 42 years, the Pastega Christmas Light Display, shining bright through the chilled winter, has been a Christmas staple in Benton County.

After this year, that light may be gone, according to Dana Strowbridge, a volunteer for the display.

Strowbridge said that Ken Pastega, who has been putting on the display since its beginning, is now 77 years old and ready to retire from managing the event. She said that Pastega is seeking new leadership to take the reins.

The Pastega Christmas Light Display first formed in 1981 around the PepsiCo Bottling Plant on NE Belvue St. in Corvallis, with additions being made each year since.

Mario Pastega, father of Ken Pastega and original proprietor of the light display, died in 2012, and in 2013 the PepsiCo Bottling Plant was sold, providing cause for the light display moving to its current location at the Benton County Events Center, 110 SW 53rd St. in Corvallis.

With the shift from the grassy lawn of the bottling plant to the concrete of the event center, many of the displays had to have special stands built, and the community held work parties to help every display find its footing, according to Strowbridge.

Strowbridge said that without assistance from the community, the display would not be possible, and said that organizers are not experiencing a shortage of dedicated volunteers.

Each year, volunteers begin work on the display after Halloween, and finish their work around mid-January.

Strowbridge said there are many organizations with whom the display organizers have partnered with, including the Benton County fairgrounds, Consumers Power, Foress Sign and Mfg. and Philomath Rental. 

Holiday Tree Farm, Starker Forest and Sunrise Tree Farm donate approximately 100 trees total for the display, and the Delta Tau Delta and Phi Delta Theta fraternities at Oregon State University once helped to unload more than 200 displays from storage.

“It is a 24/7 job from September to January for me but the reward is seeing all of those lights daily and knowing you’re a part of the magic,” Strowbridge said on why she has been a volunteer since 2013. 

The display is at its peak this year, according to Strowbridge, with 550 cars going through the display on Nov. 24 and 700 on Nov. 25.

“Ken has been passionate for years at providing the funding and labor for the Christmas display but it’s time for new ideas and energy to keep the community display a tradition,” Strowbridge said. “He’s willing to help support the new management for the first year.”

The Pastega Christmas Light Display will run every day from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31, lasting from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Though attendance is free, Strowbridge encourages visitors to bring canned goods, with donations going to St. Vincent De Paul, the South Corvallis Food Bank, the Adair Village Food Pantry, Monroe Gleaner and College Hill High School.

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