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It was a holly, jolly Christmas parade!


Last updated 12/8/2006 at Noon

Over 37,000 people watched the 25th Annual Fallbrook Christmas Parade sail down Main on Saturday, December 2. The street was crowded with onlookers anxious for the first sign of the procession consisting of approximately 135 entries. The parade, produced by the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, was minus the much-hoped-for Budweiser Clydesdales, but a small pony pulling a cart gave his all to fill in for the absent horses. A sign behind the cart explained that the pony’s larger cousins were “snowed in.”

At the parade staging area, the Fallbrook Historical Society offered hot drinks at their VIP Tent. In its ninth year, the Njust and the McDougal families plus others have helped warm up many a parade participant with hot wassail and coffee.

Parade Grand Marshal was Darwin East, who owned and operated East Brothers Grove Service until his retirement in 1994. He and his wife, Robbie, also helped out with FFA, 4-H and other local groups. Other VIPs included Honorary Mayor Rhonda Reinke, Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce President Budd Sutliff, Lt. Grant Burnett of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn, State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth and Assemblyman-Elect Kevin Jeffries. Mary Rivers, “Pioneer of the Year,” and local philanthropist Arlyne Ingold, who was chosen “Citizen of the Year,” also waved to the onlookers as they were carried down Main in cars provided by the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club.

The polished and gleaming red Warrior Band semi-truck followed the Fallbrook Union High School Marching Band. Seven other marching bands participated this year, including Great Oak High School, West Hills High School, Christian High School, James Day Middle School, Oak Glen High School, Hidden Valley Middle School and Escondido High School.

Sirens wailed and red lights flashed as various local fire departments, including North County Fire, De Luz Volunteer Fire Department and the Camp Pendleton Fire Department, strutted their shiny trucks. One clever truck driver played “Jingle Bells” on the horn!

The YMCA twirlers lit up the night with their fiery-tipped batons, which they twirled to the Beach Boys’ tune “Little Saint Nick,” and the Fallbrook Garden Club wielded rakes in their colorful rake brigade.

A community parade at its best, several churches participated, including St. Stephen’s Lutheran with an elaborate two-trailer float decorated with angels, bells, stars and a manger. The St. Peter’s Catholic Church Youth Group members were stunning in their flashy Aztec-inspired costumes with peacock feather headdresses.

The Cub Scouts Bear Den from Pack 738 wore Santa hats and “fished” on Main while riding in decorated boat. Another Cub Scout float trailed bubbles.

The Fallbrook Vintage Car Club was definitely a presence with many entries. The Mercedes Club provided the convertibles for Miss Fallbrook Amber Briggs, First Princess Symphony Ariosta and Second Princess Kristine Bourelle.

The tune “There’s No Business Like Show Business” rang out while a Fallbrook Film Factory cameraman wielding a faux vintage movie camera “filmed” several local actors and actresses, including brother and sister Katie and Mark Kopitzke.

A group of unicyclists thrilled the crowd as they balanced their bikes in an expert fashion; and the VFW Post 1924 members riding in an oversized Marine vehicle drew cheers from the crowd.

Most onlookers stayed until the end, which probably had to do with the fact that we were blessed with fairly warm weather -- a first in my seven years of watching the parade. Usually, I warm up with a heavy coat, gloves, scarf and a cup of hot coffee. I needed the coat but could have done without the gloves or scarf. Hot coffee was a necessity, however, no matter how cold the evening was!


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