Christmas Parade kicks off holidays in La Jolla

The streets of La Jolla were filled with the sights and sounds of the season on Sunday, Dec. 3 as more than 80 entrants — including a dozen floats — joined the 60th Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival down Girard Avenue and Prospect Street, including marching bands, drum and dance troupes, horses and more.

“I thought it went very well and many people said it was the best one ever,” said organizer Ann Kerr Bache. “We had to turn away 20 or 30 groups who wanted to be in the parade because I didn’t want it to be overly long.”

Kerr Bache estimated this year’s attendance at 20,000, and noted “how full and crowded the restaurants and stores were along the parade route.”

The 2017 theme was “Christmas Jewels” to commemorate its diamond year. A new addition was a fleet of 1934-38 Packards shuttling the various marshals, which included La Valencia Hotel managing director Mark Dibella and honorary marshals Sally Fuller (philanthropic), La Jolla Country Day School head Gary Krahn (education), La Jolla Rotary Club president John Trifelletti (civic), UC San Diego’s Henrik Christensen (technology) and World War II veteran Bob Vallera (military). Walter Munk of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was scheduled to attend but did not.

The parade was kicked off by a flyover from Stearman planes from the 1930s and ’40s, featuring pilot Bill Allen in the last airplane owned and flown by late actor Steve McQueen.

“We’re always grateful to the people who participate,” Kerr Bache said. “We really appreciate that they put put a lot of time, effort and their own funds in to make it all happen.”

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