By Tasha Bartholomew, @tashbart

Thanksgiving has once again come and gone, and families can focus squarely on the holidays to come in December.

SamTrans has already turned its attention to the yuletide season, with considerable effort being put in to decorate the annual Holiday Bus, a glittering, gleaming vehicle that will participate in Redwood City’s Hometown Holidays festivities.

For the seventh straight year, the decorated SamTrans bus will take part in Hometown Holidays Parade, which begins at 4:30 p.m. this Saturday. Along with agency employees and the famous mini-bus—a shrunken, one-man version of the real thing—the SamTrans Holiday Bus will make its way through downtown Redwood City along the parade route.


SamTrans maintenance crews have outfitted the bus with more than 1,000 lights, decorating both the exterior and interior of the vehicle with an array of different-colored bulbs. The bus also features a Holiday-themed wrap and graphics on the exterior, as well as some seasonal ornaments, including a couple of reindeer on the front bike rack. To add an extra touch to the winter holidays, the maintenance crew has added a snow machine this year!

Following the conclusion of the parade, the bus will stage at the Sequoia Station Transit Center, which is right next to the Redwood City Caltrain Station. There, the bus will be open to all visitors, with SamTrans representatives giving away candy canes, hot drinks and cookies.

“Kids just love it,” said Ana Rivas, the Superintendent of Bus Transportation at SamTrans’ North Base facility. “And there are people who have never seen the inside of the bus coming in to explore.”

The whole scene makes for an amazing time, particularly when Caltrain’s Holiday Train rolls into Redwood City while the Hometown Holiday gathering is underway. The entire downtown area is awash in festive colors, and SamTrans and Caltrain are right in the center, entertaining the crowds.

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