La Jolla Christmas Parade fundraising goal met; other holiday efforts continue

By Dave Schwab and Kathy Day

Staff Writers

A fundraising drive to support La Jolla’s annual Christmas parade has reached its goal, and another to raise money for a holiday lights along Torrey Pines Road is making good progress.

Meanwhile, the group of business people trying to figure out how to form a new nonprofit to run the La Jolla Business Improvement District is getting in the holiday mood as well.

Debbie Dorsee, who along with Rob Hildt is co-chairing the Town Council Christmas Parade’s fundraising, said “We have raised $40,000 which was our goal set last year.”

The event costs about $45,000 to stage.

And the drive to raise $2,340 to put up The Season’s Greetings sign on the pedestrian bridge at the Throat intersection, as well as stringing holiday lighting along Torrey Pines Road from La Jolla Shores to Prospect Place is at about the halfway point, said Joe LaCava. He volunteered to spearhead the drive to fund the lights, which sit outside the Village business district and must be paid for privately.

Within the district, plans are proceeding for shooting stars and wreaths to go up around Thanksgiving, paid for by the merchants BID fees.

But with a limited budget, others are stepping up to see if that effort can be expanded with twinkle lights along up along Prospect Street and Girard and Fay Avenues.

As the Light went to press, Anna Palmer, who owns a design studio on Herschel Avenue, and Egon Kafka of the La Jolla Village Lodge were expected to present a budget outline at Wednesday’s Promote La Jolla meeting. If it seems workable, their proposal could be submitted by the LJBID advisers to the city for funding.

Kafka said he has been working with city electricians to get crews out on Girard to restoring lighting to portions of the avenue which has been “dark for weeks” and to make sure plugs are working for the holiday lights.

Deborah Marengo, former PLJ president, also suggested bringing back choral groups and Santa’s house, which she said used to attract people during the holiday season.

At Monday’s informal gathering, most in attendance agreed that showing some activity quickly is an important first step in attracting new people to the group. They also agreed there are other longer-term issues to confront as well as the need to improve communications.

Meanwhile, the Mike McLaughlin who was hired by the San Diego Business Improvement District Foundation to spur interest in organizing La Jolla Village merchants, will continue to host meetings each Monday at 8:30 a.m. at Hennessey’s to gather ideas.

As Christmas Parade volunteers continue their planning efforts, Dorsee said they are extremely pleased to have met the fundraising goal despite the difficult financial times well in advance of the Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival, to be held Sunday, Dec. 5.

Once again this year parade sponsors, groups or individuals donating $5,000 or more — Audrey Geisel and the Seuss Foundation, County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and La Valencia Hotel — stepped up to set the tone for holiday community donations.


• What: Meeting for Village business owners to talk about forming a new group to help figure out how to spend their BID fees

• When: 8:30-9:30 a.m. Mondays

• Where: Hennessey’s, 7811 Hershcel Ave.

More: (619) 295-5171 or