But the La Jolla Town Council, which sponsors the event — taking place on Dec. 2 — and the La Jolla Parade Foundation, which supports it, need the community’s help with sponsorships and donations to make up for funding shortfalls.
“There will be a parade,” promised Ann Kerr Bache, parade chair. “But we need to raise more money — about $30,000. We’re hoping for community support so we can continue the tradition.”
Inflation and a recessionary economy continue to make fundraising a challenge. Kerr Bache said donations supporting the parade from individuals and companies alike have fallen short this year, while inflation continues to take its toll. In past years, the La Jolla Christmas parade received county grant funding from county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price ($7,500), as well as $5,000 from Supervisor Ron Roberts last year.
“Unfortunately, this year we were informed that the grant we applied for requires purchases only — single-year expenditures,” said Kerr Bache. “We used to count on that money to cover the cost of renting safety equipment, barricades, porta-potties, trashcans, a sound system, walkie-talkie equipment etc. — all of which we rent for obvious sound business practices. By the time we heard from their office and were notified of this it was too late to apply for any other grants.”
Kerr Bache said the parade foundation remains optimistic the community will answer the call for fundraising help.
“Typically in a given year, about 70 percent of our donations are from individuals and businesses so we are hopeful,” she said.
The event, she said, costs approximately $55,000 to stage.
This year parade fundraising was aided by the newly formed La Jolla Christmas Parade Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that allows for tax-deductible contributions.
“In the past, people gave to the La Jolla Town Council Foundation,” said Kerr Bache. “But we needed to create a special foundation, the La Jolla Parade Foundation, purely for managing and running the parade.”
The parade kicks off at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2. Following tradition there will be equestrians, floats, beauty queens, fire engines, marching bands, and miscellaneous and vintage vehicles carrying parade marshals. There will be a special appearance this year by the Wells Fargo stagecoach and horses.
Last year, about 20,000 attended the parade and festival and about 2,000 people, 68 equestrians and about 100 cars participated in the parade.
This year’s theme, “Christmas in the Village,” is embodied in the parade poster, which highlights a photo from the Historical Society of the Cameron Highlanders Band sponsored by La Jolla Music Company marching in the 1984 Parade.
Parade grand marshals are François and Diana Goedhuys, owners of Girard Gourmet. Other parade marshals, including youth marshals, will be announced closer to the parade.
La Jolla’s Christmas parade tradition is unique because it is organized and conducted entirely by community volunteers and is fully funded through community sponsorships and donations.
Kerr Bache said there’s a good reason for everyone to contribute to the annual Christmas parade ensuring it will continue for many years to come.
“I do it because the kids love it, and because it’s a community event and a 50-plus-year-old tradition,” she said.
This year’s major sponsors include Audrey Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Fund, $8,000; June Barrymore Ash, $2,000; the Ellis Foundation, $2,000; and John Donaldson, $1,000. The usual supporters from the business community are ponying up to adopt floats or bands for $500 and $600, respectively. The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is supporting the parade by sending e-blasts to its members to encourage donations and promote the event.
Parade registration is currently open and will close Friday, Nov. 2.
Those donating should make their checks payable to the La Jolla Town Council Parade Foundation and mailed to 7734 Herschel Ave., Suite F, La Jolla, 92037. Donations can also be made online and with PayPal at the parade website, www.ljparade.com. Email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.