FALLBROOK — On Saturday, December 6, residents of Rancho Monserate Country Club retirement community donned their Christmas costumes, decorated their golf carts and paraded through the streets of their lovely little community with music permeating the air from portable DVD players.
The parade actually began in 1974 as a summer event, as Grace Russell and Lonnie Thomas, two of the original participants, recall. The Christmas theme began in 1986.
This year’s chairperson, Brenda Vatnsdal, replaced Sherry Render, Jeanne Humphrey and Lonnie Thomas, who had been the devoted chairpersons for 11 years.
Traditionally, the parade starts at the top of a large hill in the community, outside the homes of Joe and Rose Fergus and Grover and Judy Miller, with a cookie and champagne celebration.
It gives the judges (this year they were Mary Helgamo, Lee Howard, Dottie Moore, Jeanette and Pete Petterson) time to review the entries before the parade begins.
After the parade, residents congregate outside the clubhouse for a final viewing and judging.
As the carts wind through the streets, residents who do not decorate their carts or are housebound join in the fun and festivities by handing out candy and goodies to the parade participants as they pass by or simply calling out “Season’s greetings!” to them.
A dinner was held that evening. Entertainment was provided by the Community Chorus (under the direction of Lenore Sears), piano accompaniment was provided by Marlys Holman and Holman’s two grandchildren presented a holiday program.
Brenda Vatnsdal presented prizes to the winners of the cart decorating contest. The winners were John (dressed as Santa’s elf) and Mel Yelusich (dressed as a splendid Santa). Bob and Mackie Thompson won with their spectacular elf costumes and a cart that more than fit the occasion. Rich and Doreen Taylor and their dog, Winslow, were winners traveling in an equally wonderfully decorated cart.