See you at the parade Saturday
The responses to our Streetwise question this week (see. page 4) show that we're already kicking off the holiday season, even if it does seem a bit early this year. Downtown merchants kicked off the season Nov. 19 with a "Magical Holiday Evening" that featured street musicians, carolers, festive decorations and store-after-store of special holiday refreshments. They kicked it off again at 7 a.m. the next morning with their first "Earlier than the Bird" shopping extravaganza, offering deep discounts, more refreshments and even special gifts for those shopping that early on a Saturday morning in their pajamas.
Then last Friday, the big box retailers and shopping centers opened even earlier for the traditional busiest shopping day of the year -- Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This week, Internet shoppers kicked off their shopping season with Cyber Monday.
Tomorrow night, starting at 5 p.m. from the Amador Valley High School parking lot, the city of Pleasanton hosts its annual Hometown Holiday Celebration, by far the most festive and -- at 2-1/2 hours -- the longest parade of the year. An added plus this year is that both of Pleasanton's award-winning high school marching bands -- from Amador and from Foothill High -- will add Christmas music with a marching beat as the parade makes its way south across the Arroyo del Valle bridge onto Main Street and south to the Veterans Memorial Building.
Three announcer stands will be set up so that almost everyone on Main Street will be able to hear information about the more than 3,000 parade participants who will be passing by. Besides the bands, there will be scores of holiday inspired entries including Pleasanton's own Balloon Platoon (shown above), hundreds of Cub Scouts and Brownies dressed in theme as holiday trees, gifts and angels, as well as local car and dog clubs and equestrian groups.
Watch for the Pleasanton Weekly convertible where I'll be riding with our president Gina Channell-Allen. Wearing our funny-looking Santa hats, we'll be there to promote the 2010 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund. Contributions have now reached $26,679, more than a quarter-way toward this year's goal of $100,000.
Of course, no Christmas parade is complete without Santa Claus, who will again wave to the crowds from his perch high atop a fire truck from the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department at the end of the parade.
Then it's off to the lighting of the huge Christmas tree in front of the Museum On Main. It's already decorated and just waiting for a pull on the 1920s-era switch on the review stand by Mayor Jennifer Hosterman. With her will be Council Members Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Cindy McGovern, Matt Sullivan and Jerry Thorne. Also on-stage will be a music director leading singers and the public in a series of holiday songs.
By the way, just so no one is disappointed by the parade festivities, Pleasanton police remind motorists that Main Street and some side streets will be closed to traffic and parking from 4 p.m. Saturday to about 8 p.m. Vehicles left on the street could be ticketed and towed away.
Although we hope it would never rain on our parade, it has. In the event of rain, a parade cancellation telephone hotline will be implemented and updated each hour after 2:30 p.m. on parade day Saturday. The Cancellation Information phone Line is 931-5352.
Gina and I will be waving to you along the parade route. We hope you'll wave back.