Cindy Tyler …. Overheard in front of Cinepolis on Saturday afternoon: “Is this everyone in Vista?”
Well, maybe not, but it sure seemed like it to that young boy, and he was probably pretty close. There was a huge turn-out for Vista’s 62nd annual parade, as spectators began staking out their spots along the curb two hours before parade time. Participants gathered in parking lots at Vista Magnet Middle School and the Civic Center, putting the final touches on their floats, warming up their musical instruments, and counting and re-counting heads to organize their groups for the exciting trek through the streets of downtown Vista.
The theme was “A Family Storybook Christmas” and this was definitely a story with a happy ending. Kent Leithold of the Chamber of Commerce admitted to being a little frazzled before the parade began, but with a team of “50-ish” volunteers, the Chamber pulled off a very successful event. Bret Schanzenbach, the Chamber CEO, admitted to a “couple of glitches” but said it went well.
Photos by Cindy Tyler
Prior to the 1:00 parade time, downtown Vista’s Broadway Theater youth sold souvenirs to raise money for their program while adding to the fun and spirit of the parade. Children danced to Christmas music and talked excitedly about what they were going to see. Among the throng waiting for the parade to begin was Genesis Arosemena and her daughters, Dasheyla and Esther. Five-year-old Dasheyla said she was looking forward to the “rides” and of course, Santa Claus.
The big moment finally arrived, and brought nearly 80 parade entries. The North San Diego Young Marines led the way with their color guard, followed by members of the Vista City Council. The parade’s title sponsor was Tri City Medical Center. Music was provided by bands from Vista High School and Rancho Buena Vista High School, as well as by other groups who brought their own music while they sang, marched, or danced along the parade route. Parade entries represented schools, businesses, and civic groups. There were dogs and horses, cute little children, and lots of sparkle everywhere.
The Revolution Twirlers from Oceanside Adventist Elementary School were adorable, but the little ones were exhausted by the end of the parade. The girls said they had practiced for several months and had a lot of fun at the parade, and would love to do it again, “But make sure it’s a SHORT parade,” one of the seven-year-olds said. Her friends agreed, and chorused, “Shorter!”
Entries were judged by a panel consisting of Jennifer Bradford, Operations and Outreach Manager for the Moonlight Cultural Foundation, Kevin Ham, Vista’s Director of Economic Development, and Michael Hadland, an assistant to Assemblyman Rocky Chavez. Hadland said he had judged many contests in the past, but “mostly chili cookoffs.” Bradford, a 25-year Vista resident, said she was “thrilled to participate in this festive family-friendly event with such a deep history in our city.” Parade entries were judged for “Best Use of Theme,” “Christmas Spirit,” and “Best Overall.” The list of winners will be available later this week.
There was a new route this year, as the parade began at the Civic Center and continued down Eucalyptus Street to South Santa Fe, then made a right turn on Broadway, a left on Citrus, then a final turn onto Main Street, ending at the Wave waterpark. Also new this year were more announcers, with stations located near Pepper Tree Frosty, Crozier’s Flowers, and Cinepolis.
What wasn’t new this year was the traditional finale – Santa Claus riding in on a fire engine, then stopping at Cinepolis to visit and pose for pictures with children. Vista’s mascot “Berry” the strawberry and numerous Star Wars characters were also on hand for photos.
Another little voice overheard in the parking lot near the Wave: “That was fun Mom! Can we do it again tomorrow?” Well, not tomorrow, but we can all look forward to #63 next year.