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PHOTOS: La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival brings Santa and the community to town

• Click on VIEW GALLERY to see photos from the event.

On a sun-splashed afternoon, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015; hundreds of spectators strategically choose their viewing pots on sidewalks, beach chairs, lawns and restaurant patios to view the 58th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade in the heart of the Village of La Jolla. The 90-minute-long caravan included floats, marching bands and assortment of four-legged creatures. Just about everybody was represented — from service clubs to Scout troops and local beauty queens — and all were invited afterwards to the Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Rec Center, which capped off the event.

--- La Jolla Christmas Parade director proclaims the pomp ‘polished’

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After two cups of coffee the morning of the 58th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival, parade director Ann Kerr Bache said she was out the door, her cell phone ringing. A few calls concerned last-minute cancellations, and a few others brought last-minute can-we-joins? but no surprises the veteran of dozens of past parades couldn’t handle.

Ann Kerr Bache, director of the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival
Ann Kerr Bache, director of the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival
(Susan DeMaggio)

“We’ve got great volunteers and a support staff in place,” she told La Jolla Light, after the Dec. 6, 2015 Village extravaganza, “and since the focus is on fun, it all works itself out.”

Kerr Bache said this year’s floats were particularly “amazing” for their “polish” and panache. “They all looked so good and worked so well,” she said, adding that their “wow” factors kept the crowd applauding and cheering.

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“I’m always amazed at how well the kids in the parade do,” she said. “They really seem to enjoy the experience and perform their various roles like young professionals. I think it’s great that by watching the different parade entries, the community is reminded of all the hard work and philanthropic work so many residents are involved in.”

She also pointed out that this year’s marching bands represented schools up and down the coast that kept the “wow” factor going strong with their holiday music, stunning uniforms and precise maneuvers.

Kerr Bache said the Monday before the parade, she was shy the required funds (about $75,000) to cover parade expenses. However, after a few phone calls, generous benefactors made it all happen. “I can still do with some donations because the more I get, the more I can give the bands for their music programs,” she said. “The biggest bill comes from the police department and the city. Donation information is at ljparade.com

Kerr Bache said she wanted to thank so many people for donating time and talent and funding for the parade. “It looked to me like attendance was down a bit from last year, probably due to the Chargers game at the same time and the San Diego Dancing with the Stars event the night before, but the parade went off without a hitch and hundreds of people enjoyed the afternoon.”

The parade paid tribute to the La Jolla Recreation Center’s 100th year, which was marked with a community celebration in July. The 2015 parade theme was “100 Years of Christmas Cheer.”

--- Marshals for the 2015 La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival:

• Grand Marshal: La Jolla Recreation Center, represented by Herman Parker, Doug Dawson and Cindy Greatrex

• Civic Marshal: Kiwanis Club of la Jolla, represented by Henry Chiu

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• Cultural Marshals: La Jolla Music Society and The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, represented by Martha Dennis, Dolly Woo and Kristin Lancino

• Military Marshal: USS Midway Museum and Foundation, represented by Retired Navy Rear Admiral John “Mac” MacLaughlin and Daniel Beintema

• Innovation Marshal: Retired Vice Admiral Walter Davis

• Traditional Marshal: Community activist Melinda Merryweather

--- To make a donation to the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival, visit ljparade.com

La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival 2015
Santa Claus arrives at the 2015 La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival, Dec. 6.
(Greg Wiest)