By Dave Schwab
This year’s 54th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival on Sunday, Dec. 4 starting at 2 p.m. at the corner of Girard Avenue and Kline Street promises to deliver on its “Classic Christmas” theme.
“We have probably the biggest parade yet with more than 100 entries, nine bands, a bunch of equestrian units, three canine units, four fire engines and lots of beauty queens,” said Ann Kerr Bache, parade chair for the La Jolla Town Council-sponsored event.
And with the crowd of an estimated 20,000 when you count attendees and participants come lots of cars.
This year’s parade grand marshal, June Barrymore Ash, recalls antique cars were always a big part of the event, with 15 classic Rolls Royces carrying dignitaries, like the late actor Cliff Robertson, during the early days when the parade resumed after being suspended a few years during and after World War II.
Noting she’s “quite honored and pleased” to be this year’s grand marshal, she said the parade when it resumed again had no grand marshal.
“It was small, pulled together very quickly,” she said. “There were no floats. We had a school band and a fire truck.”
Barrymore Ash’s husband, Neil, is also a parade marshal.
“I’m just a lowly military marshal,” he said adding, “We’ve got some responsibilities that day.”
Kerr Bache warned cars parked in restricted areas will be towed — a recurring problem that parade organizers are trying to avoid by getting the word out at www.ljparade.com.
“The website has street closures in color telling you exactly where you’re not to park,” said Kerr Bache. “We’re also having volunteers on the street to remind people. Our goal is to have absolutely nobody towed.”
Kerr Bache said last year 19 cars were hauled off. The year before that the number was 40.
“The city is aggressive with it,” she added.
Following the parade activities continue with the Holiday Festival at the La Jolla Recreation Center which ends with the lighting of the Christmas Tree, sponsored by the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club and GDC Construction.
At press time on Tuesday, parade organizers were still $5,000 to $7,000 shy of the approximately $45,000 cost of staging the event, she said, imploring La Jollans to continue donating because “every little bit helps.”
Parade honorees this year include: June Barrymore Ash as Grand Marshal for her contributions to the community; Robert Meanley (Ace Hardware), William White (Ascot Shop), Nancy Warwick (Warwick’s), Dennis Wills (D.G. Wills) and Neil Ash are being honored as Goodwill, Cultural, and Military Marshals, respectively. Joining them as Youth Marshals will be students nominated by public and private La Jolla schools recognizing their community service.
IF YOU GO
10 a.m.: Equestrians begin arriving
Noon: Judging of floats at noon
2 p.m. Antique Aircraft fly-over and parade begins on Girard Avenue at Kline street. Moves along Girard to Prospect; ends at La Jolla Rec Center.
3:30 p.m. Holiday Festival begins; hotos with Santa at Rec Center 4:30 p.m. Christmas tree lighting