Festivities begin at 1 p.m. with a spirited procession of colorful floats, classic cars and the vibrant sounds of the Pacific Beach Middle and Mission Bay High School bands marching west down six blocks of Garnet Avenue from Haines to Cass streets. Spectators are encouraged to line the streets before the parade begins to get the best vantage point of the lively event, then stick around to enjoy the many amenities the beachside community has to offer.
“We encourage people to make a day of it and complete their holiday shopping in our local businesses, grab dinner at your favorite PB restaurant and stroll along the streets to check out the great window decorating,” said Sara Berns, Discover PB’s executive director. “This is a day to come out and celebrate the holidays with your community.”
The Pacific Beach Holiday Parade was first established in 1977.
To pay homage to Pacific Beach’s 125th anniversary this year as well, the parade is themed “Holidays Past and Presents” to showcase PB’s longstanding history and distinct community culture throughout the years. Floats and classic cars will reflect the theme, and parade participants are encouraged to dress in garb from their favorite time period.
Despite the community’s fondness for the annual holiday parade, the longstanding Pacific Beach tradition has experienced a couple of setbacks over the years, forcing its cancellation in 2009, revived in 2010, and cancelled again just last year because of a lack of funding.
“The parade is difficult to fund because there are no income sources like vendors or concession sales, like you would have for a festival,” said Berns. “Because our parade is so long, the street closure — which is charged per block — is very expensive.”
This year, however, a dedicated group of community members made it their mission to bring the parade back — hopefully, for good.
“Discover PB decided to move forward with the parade because of the huge effort made by the community to raise the funds,” Berns said. “People that live and work in this community really make it happen and wanted to see the parade return.”
Through fundraising efforts spearheaded by the Beach Bar Guild and generous support from the Pacific Beach Community Foundation, the community’s goal to save the parade this year has been achieved.
“They started with a goal last year to save the parade and worked tirelessly to get it done,” said Berns. “They raised the majority of the funding needed for the parade by hosting events attended by the community to bring this parade back.”
To ensure the community’s beloved holiday event continues long into the future, businesses and community members are encouraged to contribute to the Pacific Beach Holiday Parade fund throughout the year. For more information about how to donate, contact Berns at (858) 273-3303, or email sara@-pacificbeach.org.