Pleasanton's annual Hometown Holiday Celebration, the city's most festive event, starts with a parade at 5 p.m. today on Main Street with 77 entries and more than 2,800 participants and, of course, Santa at the end.
The marching bands from Foothill and Amador Valley high schools will play festive Christmas music as the holiday-inspired participants walk from the Amador Valley High parking lot to the south end of Main Street.
Other highlights of the parade will include Pleasanton's own Balloon Platoon, Wreaths Across Pleasanton, the Tri-Valley Quarter Midget Association, Tri-Valley Y-Guides and Y-Princesses, East Bay Regional Park District Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol and hundreds of Cub Scouts and Brownies, local car clubs and dog clubs, along with many others.
Some Scout troops and KKIQ will have music with their floats. Animal entries include the Baroque Horses of Northern California, California State Horsemen's Association Royalty and Valley Humane Society.
Sports groups will include Pleasanton Girls Softball, Pleasanton Seahawks and the Tri-Valley Minor Hockey Association.
Local businesses will take part, with Meadowlark Dairy's float always a popular entry and representatives of Mary Kay and New Leaf Community Markets close by.
The Pleasanton Weekly will be there, too, with Publisher Gina Channell-Allen and this writer riding in a Mercedes-Benz convertible decorated with holiday lights as we promote the Pleasanton Weekly's 2015 Holiday Fund and ask for your donations.
Alongside will be the Pleasanton City Council, perhaps even more traditional and festive as Mayor Jerry Thorne and council members Karla Brown, Kathy Narum, Arne Olson and Jerry Pentin wave from their chilly seats in a horse-drawn carriage.
The parade will be followed by the lighting of a holiday tree in front of the Museum on Main at approximately 7:15 p.m. The Jukebox Heroes will join Santa and the City Council on stage near the Pleasanton Arch for holiday music. Then Thorne will join Santa in pulling the large old-fashioned switch.
Not to be forgotten as the annual Hometown Holiday Celebration gets underway are the members of the Pleasanton city staff and community volunteers who plan and conduct the event, starting in February when they reviewed the 2014 festivities.
"We all work together as a team to put on a great event for the community," said parade coordinator Michelle Dunaway.
In addition to a steering committee, there are also approximately 75 volunteers on the day of the event to assist, Dunaway added. Those duties range anywhere from being an announcer on one of the three stages to hospitality and check-in, parade marshals, operations and logistics, and even our 'beautification technicians' who assist with clean-up and tear-down at the end of the event.
Members of the Hometown Holiday steering committee are Bernie Billen, Brad Kinney, Brian Dutchover, Chuck Deckert, Derek Logan, Gene Smith, Karen Burton-Lind, Tom Gannon and Tom Medina.
With Pleasanton dealing with a much-publicized severe drought this year, Dunaway added a "rain-out protocol" almost in jest until recent showers came along. So now she said a parade weather hotline will be activated starting at 1:15 p.m. today so everyone can keep up with any rain-out possibilities.
She adds, however: "Mother Nature says she will be giving us a balmy 41 degrees with a few clouds from time to time, with 0% chance of precipitation. Winds will be light and variable."
A traffic reminder: Main Street will close to vehicular traffic beginning at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. But many stores and all restaurants will be open with early diners able to claim outdoor tables on Main Street for comfortable viewing.