OB Holiday Parade to jazz up heart of OB, brighten season
by Bart Mendoza
Published - 11/28/12 - 04:41 PM | 127906 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Children dressed as holiday presents march down Newport Avenue during the annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade.       Photo by Paul Hansen I The Beacon
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While some folks start their holiday countdown around Thanksgiving Day, most in San Diego know the season of merriment really doesn’t start until the first Saturday in December when the annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade kicks off.

Now in its 33rd year, the Ocean Beach Town Council-sponsored event takes place this year on Saturday, Dec. 1, with a start time of 5:05 p.m. It’s a full day of activities and fun for the whole family.

Making this an extra-special happening, this is the only nighttime parade in the area, with the twinkling lights on the floats in this year’s event injecting an extra-magical feeling of the holidays.

The parade gets the biggest headlines, but it’s just a part of the proceedings. With more than 10,000 people expected on Dec. 1, there will be no shortage of entertainment. The opening of the parade coincides with the lighting of the Ocean Beach community Christmas tree at the foot of Newport Avenue, with holiday activities all over the area until 9 p.m.

Visitors will find a plethora of options, with music, food and a full-fledged Fun Zone taking place in the adjacent Ocean Beach Pier parking lot from 9 a.m. to

9 p.m. Highlights include a skateboard contest sponsored by OB Surf and Skate.

There will also be a crafts fair with more than 20 artists participating at Veteran’s Plaza (Newport Avenue and Abbott Street) running from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“We draw a good crowd for this,” said Claudia Jack, associate director of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association. “Just about 80 percent of what’s on offer is local. There are a lot of handmade crafts from people with wonderful talents, ornaments, clothing, surfboard items, something for everyone, all at reasonable prices.”

There will be also be a storefront decorating contest on Newport Avenue and the surrounding area, beginning at dusk on Dec. 1. Indeed, just about everywhere you turn on Ocean Beach that day, there will be holiday fun to be had.

While the day offers plenty of opportunities for fun and shopping, it’s also a chance to help the less fortunate during these holiday times. The Ocean Beach Town Council is again hosting its annual Food and Toy Drive, and participants are encouraged to donate canned food or an unwrapped toy with drop-off bins located throughout the area.

This year, everything donated during the Food and Toy Drive will be distributed Dec. 22.

“The event is important on many different levels,” Jack said. “I think it brings people together. I think people realize there are others in need and it’s time to give back. Last year, we adopted 70 families, 13 seniors and 13 women who live in a gated community here in Ocean Beach.”

With more than 100 participants in this year’s OB Holiday Parade, there is always the chance for some disorganization. But with 33 years of experience for local organizers, that rarely happens. Jack pointed out the Ocean Beach Town Council and OB MainStreet Association have parade marshals to keep things running smoothly, with the parade ending the traditional way — Santa’s arrival by fire truck.

According to Jack, all the activities are coordinated by an Ocean Beach Town Council committee of 10, with an additional 75 volunteers on the day.

“All the hard work is very much worth it,” Jack said. “It’s wonderful when people realize they can reach out and help somebody else, but there is also the twinkle in the eye of all the children watching the parade and tree lighting. People absolutely love it.”

Jack said it’s all about the giving.

“I always tell people at this time of year, don’t buy me a gift — I already have what I need,” said Jack. “Buy me a can of corn or some food item instead. Then I can donate it to the Food and Toy Drive.”

Looking ahead, the OB Town Council is also preparing to host its annual Holiday Homes Decorating Contest on Sunday, Dec. 16 to get locals into the holiday spirit and energize them about the message of the holiday season. The contest will highlight the best-of-the-best home decorations in the 92107 ZIP code. For more information, call Mike at (619) 316-3403.
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