LJ Christmas parade's still short on cash

With the 51st La Jolla Christmas parade just a little over two weeks away, the La Jolla Town Council is putting out another call for financial support.

"We still need about $15,000," said President Darcy Ashley. Just under $6,000 of the $20,000 needed had been donated when she made the statement late last week. "We really need to do some power fundraising."

The parade will be held Sunday, Dec. 7 starting at 2 p.m. It will run along Girard Avenue from Kline Street to Prospect Street, ending at La Jolla Rec Center where a holiday festival follows featuring refreshments, photos with Santa, caroling and more at 3:30 p.m. This year's event theme is "History on Parade."

In the face of the ailing economy, Ashley said those who previously were the biggest sponsors - sponsorship has come from banks, real estate and construction companies - have been hardest hit.

Little bit helps

"They have not donated or given half what they usually do," said Ashley, adding they don't need big donations, just lots of little ones.

"If people give $25, $50 or $100, we'll get there," she said.

Lee Sandvick of La Jolla Toastmasters, which will be handling announcing at this year's parade, stood up at the Nov. 13 town council meeting and presented a $500 check for the parade, imploring others to follow suit.

Town council member Trent Bonner said all the stops are being pulled out to raise the additional funds needed to hold the event.

"This is our main event," Bonner said. "We need trustees, all of the community, to volunteer for this."

Bonner has sent out 200 letters asking for donations to key people in the community. He and Sandvick have also put out collection buckets throughout the Village.

Pitching in

Willis Allen Real Estate announced Tuesday it is taking up a collection among its agents and staff and will ante up, though the total amount has not yet been determined.

Council member Ed Ward pointed out that the parade's focus is different this year.

"The focus has been turned to our local businesses and retailers and away from outside suppliers and sellers of trinkets," he said.

Every year the parade draws 1,200 participants - marching bands, ROTC units, drill teams, dancers, Scout troops, float builders, equestrians, car aficionados, politicians and promoters - who are watched by crowds exceeding 20,000 people. A YMCA-sponsored craft fair was dropped from this year's event and parade guests are being encouraged to shop and dine locally before and after the event to help out Village merchants.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit

www.ljparade.com

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