By Dave Schwab
The 53rd annual La Jolla Christmas Parade sponsored by La Jolla Town Council, which went off without a hitch Sunday, Dec. 5 was the biggest ever, said parade organizers.
The list of 129 parade entrants included eight bands, seven beauty queens, three canine and 10 equestrian units (48 horses most ever), two camels, four fire engines, one lifeguard boat, 13 floats, 19 marching units and numerous VIP vehicles transporting parade marshals and politicos. As the parade kicked off at 2 p.m. heads turned skyward as a fleet of antique aircraft buzzed Girard Avenue — not once but several times as a Marine Corps band played on.
“There must have been 1,500 people in the parade,” guessed town council parade chair Ann Kerr Bache, who added that parade observers were equally numerous. “They were four deep along Girard (Avenue),” she note, adding everyone participating deserves credit for making the event successful. “It really is a Villagewide undertaking.”
Felicia Parker of Bird Rock, who chaired the Holiday Festival at the Rec Center following the parade, was elated by how well things went with it and also that her neighborhood’s float, in only its third year competing, took first place as best overall float.
“The festival was a little bigger this year than last year,” Parker said. “We had a lot of entertainment for kids, several jumpees, a couple of facepainters and Santa Claus was there of course.”
“It was wonderful — I got to ride in the fire truck,” boasted La Jolla Town Council President Rick Wildman, who talked about the two things he enjoyed most about this year’s function. “The best thing was the kids over at the rec center, they just had a great time,” he said. “I loved when the old planes flew over — that was my favorite.”
There was one dissenter among parade celebrants, 7-year-old Ava Ratcliff who, while parading with La Jolla YMCA, carried a sign saying "Jesus celebrated tolerance" and afterwards passed out leaflets she made at La Jolla Rec Center advocating changing the parade name to "La Jolla Holiday Parade" to make it more inclusive for all groups.