DISCOVERY BAY -- Thousands are expected to line the streets this weekend for a popular family-friendly holiday tradition that is now a decade old.

Arguably Discovery Bay's largest event, the Parade of Lights will be held along town streets starting at the Discovery Bay Marina and winding up at the Discovery Bay Shopping Center.

This year's theme is "An Out of This World Christmas," as 37 lighted floats and dozens of more vehicles will roll down the street.

"We put a very broad theme out there to let applicants get the creative juices flowing," Rick Pierce, parade captain, said.

Local marching bands, schools and other civic groups will participate in the parade, which parade director Amanda Dove estimates should draw about 3,000 to 5,000 spectators.

"For a town of 15,000, to have that many watching and participating, it's pretty huge," Pierce said.

Some travel from other areas to watch the parade, he said.

"For me, it's like Miracle on 34th Street, but on Discovery Bay Boulevard," Dove said. "To have this amazing, charming little-town parade where people know each other and say hello on the street, it's just a fantastic atmosphere."

The parade, held the first weekend in December, includes pictures with Santa Claus and culminates with the lighting of the town tree, a 45-foot flagpole with strands of lights in the shape of a tree. It replaced the town's beloved pine that was chopped down in 2002.

The Parade of Lights began for several reasons, including as a way for those who don't live on water to enjoy a holiday parade, according to event organizers.

"For many, this is their parade. They look forward to it all year," he said.

Parking is limited and spectators are encouraged to come early. Discovery Bay roads will be closed from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

IF YOU GO
What: 10th Annual Discovery Bay Parade of Lights
When: 6 p.m. Saturday. The tree lighting is at 7:30 p.m.
Where: The parade route meanders down Marina Road and makes a quick left onto Willow Lake Road before veering right onto Riverlake Road. The parade route turns left onto Sandpoint Road and left onto Discovery Bay Boulevard before ending at the Discovery Bay Shopping Center.
Info: Call 925-408-8332; or visit the parade website at www.paradeoflights.wordpress.com or Parade of Lights Facebook page.