After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lompoc Valley Children’s Christmas Season Parade returned Friday night as a festive crowd cheered.
The parade, which kicked off at 6 p.m., marked the first in the city since December 2019.
“I'm really excited that they're able to have the Children's Christmas Parade again this year. I'm looking forward to watching all of the floats go by and seeing who's out this year,” Mayor Jenelle Osborne said.
The mayor and her husband rode their bikes along the route and were among about 60 entries.
Public health concerns meant the city 's Flower Festival and Christmas parades did not occur in 2020 or early 2021.
“When I was putting the lineup together, I almost wanted to cry because it's been so long since I actually had to put a parade together,” volunteer Elizabeth Nunez said. “Look at the streets. The streets are lined with people, and that gives you the natural energy to get this parade going.”
The Lompoc Parks and Recreation Department organized the Christmas parade, which this year featured the theme of “Home for the Holidays.”
Entries traveled south on H Street from Pine Avenue, turned west on Ocean Avenue, and headed south to I Street
Following the parade, participants and spectators gathered at Centennial Park, on the corner of Cypress Avenue and H Street, for the announcement of parade winners as well as the lighting of the community Christmas tree, free cocoa and cookies, and a visit with Santa.
City staff said the winners of the 2021 Christmas Parade awards were:
» Marching band: Cabrillo High School
» Noncommercial dance/cheer: Vandenberg Gymnastics Team
» Commercial dance/cheer: Garcia Dance Studio
» Youth group (nonprofit): Lompoc Boys & Girls Club
» Non-youth group (nonprofit): Nueva Generacion Offroad
» Faith-based: Lompoc Valley Baptist Church
» Commercial (business): Empire Real Estate Group
Lompoc's parade is one of two in the North County this weekend, with the Solvang Julefest Parade set to kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Danish-themed city.
The 2021 Julefest Parade will feature a new route, similar to Solvang's July Fourth Parade. Nearly 40 entries will line up at Lot 72, proceeding north on Alisal Road, turning left onto Copenhagen Drive, left/south on Second Street, with a final stroll down Oak Street as the participants head back to Lot 72.