To fill the air with the sights and sounds of the season for the 60th year, the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival returns to The Village 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3.
The theme is “Christmas Jewels” to commemorate its diamond year. For one special afternoon, the streets of The Village will be filled with bands, floats, horses, vintage automobiles, a Disney princess or two, and a visit from the Man in Red.
The 90-minute parade starts on Girard Avenue at Kline Street and will proceed toward Prospect Street, making its way toward the La Jolla Rec Center — where the Holiday Festival will be waiting. No-parking rules in the impacted areas the day of will be strictly enforced.
“There is nothing like the energy on the street that day,” said event chair and La Jolla Town Council president Ann Kerr Bache. “It’s one of the few parades left that has live animals and equestrians, and this year we have so many live bands marching. We have a couple of Mariachi bands and a Taiko drum group that’s always a big hit.”
Bands include: El Cajon Valley Marching Braves, Grossmont High School’s Royal Blue Regiment, La Jolla Country Day Torrey marching band, La Jolla High School marching band, Mariachi Chula Vista, Mt. Miguel Alumni jazz band, Mt. Miguel Student & Alumni jazz band, Pacific Experience Quartet, Santana High School Sultan marching band, Seal Conservancy Spring Valley Eagle Pride Band, Standley Middle School marching band, Sweetwater Union High School District Island steel drum band, Sweetwater Mariachi, The Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band, University City High School Centurion Sound Marching Band and Color Guard.
Although not a band, a singing group will be marching with performers dressed like Disney princesses, so get ready to hear the hit “Let It Go,” as Queen Elsa from the film “Frozen” may make an appearance.
Floats include those from: All Hallows Academy, Erling Rohde Plumbing, Girl Scout San Diego Troop 3098, House Of Palestine, Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, La Jolla American Legion Post 275, La Jolla Golf Carts, La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, Ooh La La Dance Academy, Family Auto Service, St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Stella Maris Academy and WindanSea Surf Club.
There are also 16 marching units and 17 vehicles that will join a special car procession. A series of old Packards — including one second-place winner from this year’s Concours d’Elegance — will carry the grand marshals and VIPs in what is being called the “Parade of Packards.”
Parade Marshal Lineup
This year’s marshals include La Valencia Hotel in honor of its 91st year in business, represented by managing director Mark Dibella; Honorary Parade Marshals Sally Fuller (Philanthropic), Gary Krahn (Education), La Jolla Rotary Club president John Trifelletti (Civic), Henrik Christensen (Technology), Walter Munk (Civic), and 92-year-old World War II veteran Bob Vallera (Military). Once the marshals are safely at their destination, these Packards will be parked alongside the floats after the parade for visitors to see up close.
Dibella said of being the grand marshal, “As La Valencia’s eighth Managing Director in nine decades, I could not be more proud or honored to represent the city’s grand icon – The Pink Lady – as La Jolla celebrates its 60th annual Christmas parade.”
The Holiday Festival begins at 2 p.m. and ends with the Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree on the Rec Center lawn at 4:30 p.m. It includes stage entertainment; a Kids Zone with pony rides, inflatable obstacle course and bounce house; and educational activities.
“The Festival is just getting bigger and bigger,” Kerr Bache said. “We had 5,000 people walk through last year. This year, there will be a twist on the community Christmas Tree lighting. The Rec Center is redoing its electric system, so sufficient energy might not be guaranteed. That’s why we’re putting a temporary classic Christmas Tree next to community tree, which will use less power and is a little safer.”
But the crown gem of “Christmas Jewels” will once again be a photo-op with Santa, whose visit comes courtesy of La Jolla Sunrise Rotary. Santa will travel the parade route in the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s Old Black Goose, a 1915 Black Packard convertible.
A press release from the Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival Foundation states: “This event would not be possible without many efforts, from helping raise funds to making sure all entrants have a fun and safe experience. We offer special thanks to Parade Administrator Patricia Wells, Parade Director Mike Carlin, Festival Director Gail Forbes, and it has been a privilege to work with Park & Recreation Center advisory board president Mary Coakley-Munk, for all of their support to the Foundation for the Holiday Festival.”
Kerr Bache told La Jolla Light: “Without our returners and donors, we wouldn’t be able to put on the parade. It’s an amazing parade and I think it’s amazing the community has supported it year after year. We’re grateful for Peter Farrell, Jack McGrory and Bill Kellogg (volunteer and parade co-chairs).”
Kerr Bache said funds are still needed since costs for permits and security have gone up and she would like to offer stipends to the bands that perform to cover their expenses. To learn more or donate, visit ljparade.com/donate