Almost here: La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival slated for Sunday, Dec. 6

Now just days from taking over Girard Avenue, Prospect Street and the La Jolla Recreation Center, the 58th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival is expected to draw up to 30,000 to the Village, with varied offerings organizers say will include both traditional entertainment and exciting additions, beginning 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

The roughly $75,000 production will feature favorites like Santa Claus on the Old Black Goose, and new attractions such as a pair of food trucks along the route and pony rides at the Holiday Festival. The parade’s organizing group, the privately run nonprofit La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival Foundation, said it aimed to make the two-part event one that would appeal to many fancies and cultures. Among the diverse attractions, event chair Ann Kerr Bache said, will be a Chinese Lion Dance performance, along with an assortment of marching bands, custom floats and a total of six marshals.

La Jolla’s Pantai Inn plans to bring an authentic Balinese experience to the parade. Self-described as “the only Balinese inspired hotel in the nation,” the Pantai Inn has, in coordination with the Indonesian Consulate, arranged for an assembly of authentically clad Indonesian participants to carry Balinese triple-handmade umbrellas and a banner announcing the hotel’s parade entry.

“This style of umbrella is used at temple gates, dance performances and processionals,” Pantai Inn noted in a release. “There will be traditional Balinese dancers in full costume. This is truly a rare opportunity to see an authentic Balinese Barong Ket, Balinese dancers and Marching Gamelan.”

Grand Marshal of the parade will be the La Jolla Recreation Center, represented by Cindy Greatrex and Doug Dawson. The La Jolla Music Society and Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center will serve as this year’s Cultural Marshals, while community activist Melinda Merryweather will be the parade’s Traditional Marshal. Look for Vice Admiral Walter Davis as the Innovation Marshal, Henry Chiu of the Kiwanis Club as Civic Marshal, and retired Navy Rear Admiral Mac MacLaughlin, a representative of USS Midway Museum, as the Military Marshal.

The parade will start at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Girard Avenue and Kline Street, and proceed west on Girard before the route takes a turn south down Prospect Street. From there, the contingent will travel five blocks to the parade’s finish line at the corner of Prospect Street and Draper Avenue, near the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the La Jolla Recreation Center. Between 2 and 5 p.m., the La Jolla Recreation Center will host the Holiday Festival, with the Village’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony planned for 4:30 p.m. at the corner of Draper Avenue and Prospect Street.

Floats will include entries from All Hallows Academy, American Legion La Jolla Post 275, San Diego French American School, Ooh La La Dance Academy, Stella Maris Academy, Rohde Plumbing, Italian American Academy and WindanSea Surf Club.

Kerr Bache said interest in parade participation was high — especially from fire engine companies, Scout troops, vintage car-owners, beauty queens, churches, schools, canine unit and equestrian shows. “The real thing is coming back and seeing, year-after-year, all the fun as things change, yet remain the same,” she said.

At the Holiday Festival, visitors attend activities ranging from musical performances to a Candy Cane Lane. The festival’s Kids Zone — offering pony rides, a bounce house and obstacle course, Kung-Fu Panda, and a tutorial on the National Horse of Brazil — will be open from 2 to 4 p.m., while the Festival Entertainment Stage will offer performances during the same time frame. The Pacific Coast Harmony Chorus will kick off the two hours of the on-stage performances, followed by productions by the Lincoln High School Step Team, La Jolla Taiko Drum, the Kukui Nuts Band and the Stella Maris Academy Star Singers.

Animal adoptions, hosted by Friends of County Animal Shelters, will take place 2 to 4:30 p.m., while photos with Santa Claus are from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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