I don’t remember ever going to a parade as a kid. I think the first parade I almost went to was when some college friends visited me in L.A. during our holiday break. They wanted to see the Rose Parade. We attended several New Year’s Eve parties in Pasadena the night before and by parade time I was just too tired to go.
Growing up in Southern California, my idea of watching a parade was watching Santa arrive on TV every Thanksgiving weekend during the Santa Claus Lane Parade televised from Hollywood. That parade has been around since 1928 and supposedly inspired Gene Autry to write the song “Here Comes Santa Claus” (“right down Santa Claus Lane”).
The Santa Claus Lane Parade was always at night and always star-studded with familiar celebrities smiling and waving from convertibles as they cruised down Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. Santa was always last, and if my memory serves me right, he rode in a convertible, too. That was a long time ago, before color television even.
In 2007, the 76th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (the name changed at some point) almost didn’t happen. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the group that organized it, said it was losing money and called it quits. The L.A. City Council voted to sponsor the event just in the nick of time and rounded up a few stars to participate.
Bob Barker (“The Price is Right”) was the grand marshal.
Since moving to Del Norte County, I’ve attended every Crescent City Santa parade. I’ve even brought my children, and in recent years my granddaughter, to see Santa arrive atop a fire truck.
But like the 2007 Hollywood parade, this year’s Crescent City parade almost didn’t happen. I received a call one day asking if I thought there should be a parade. What a silly question, I thought. Of course there should be a parade. A few other people thought so too and formed a committee to organize holiday festivities downtown.
There’s a handful of volunteers who have been meeting weekly to ensure that you and your family have a parade and other fun events to attend locally this holiday season. I applaud what these individuals along with some dedicated folks from the city have achieved in such a short amount of time.
Santa will be arriving by air this year (in a helicopter that’s landing at Beachfront Park Saturday at 4:30.) And from there Santa will jump on his trusty fire truck and, without missing a beat, pull up the rear of the annual parade that will head north up H Street to Third.
All comers are welcome. You can sign up to be in the parade in advance by stopping at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center on Front Street or the Edward Jones office on Third and H. Or just show up at Beachfront Park around 4:30 Saturday and check in for Crescent City’s own Santa’s Light Parade that will begin at 5.
For the first time in history (as far as I know) the Triplicate will be in the parade, and we’re challenging all other businesses, service clubs, churches, organizations of any type or size, and individuals to join us. Let’s make the parade-that-almost-wasn’t the biggest and best Santa parade ever!
If you can’t ride or walk in the parade, pick a good spot on H Street (between Front and Third) or along Third (between H and J) to watch. And keep reading the Del Norte Triplicate to find out about other downtown events coming up in December. ‘Tis the season and it’s alive and well in downtown Crescent City. See you Saturday.
Reach Michele Thomas, the Del Norte Triplicate’s publisher, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 464-2141 or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.