The lighted farm implement parade is real. I never went to it, though. I think my mom felt it was too commercial.
Don’t read too much into “The Unpleasantness.” I think most small-to-medium sized towns have a few events in their history that could be referred to as that. If you must have a concrete example, Sunnyside, and the Yakima Valley in general had a bad enough drug trafficking problem that we made the national news on multiple occasions.